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EUSEBIUS:

Bishop of Cæsarea and the "father of Church history"; born about 270. Though animated by zeal for the conversion of the Jews, he often gives evidence of his bitter dislike of them. In his "Demonstratio Evangelica," which is a direct attack on Judaism, he charges the Jews with serious errors in the exposition of Scripture, and advises that efforts should be made to induce them to abandon their heresies (iv. 16). His advice doubtless influenced the enactment of anti-Jewish laws by Constantine, at whose right hand Eusebius sat in the Council of Nicæa. The "Demonstratio Evangelica" is divided into twenty books, of which only ten have been preserved. Eusebius first endeavors to demonstrate that the Mosaic law had only a local character and was not intended for a universal religion. For instance, the injunction to appear "thrice in the year" before God (Ex. xxxiv. 23) can only be applicable to the inhabitants of Palestine (ib. i. 2). He then comments upon the Messianic prophecies of the Bible, which, according to him, were fulfilled in the appearance of Jesus.

Of great interest for Jews is Eusebius' "Præparatio Evangelica." It is divided into fifteen books, of which the last eight treat of Judaism, its religion, history, and institutions, and show its superiority over paganism. Especially valuable are books viii. and ix., in which he reproduces fragments of Jewish-Hellenic writers, such as Eupolemus, Demetrius, Artapanus, Philo, Ezekielus, and Josephus. The fragments, taken from the writings of Alexander Polyhistor, are faithfully rendered. Eusebius seems to have had a Jewish teacher, who instructed him in Hebrew, and through whom he became familiar with many haggadot and Jewish traditions; of these he made use in his works on Biblical exegesis. See Church Fathers.

Bibliography:
  • Grätz, Gesch. iv. 312;
  • S. Krauss, The Jews in the Works of the Church Fathers, in Jewish Quarterly Review, vi. 82;
  • Freudenthal, Hellenistische Studien, pp. 1 et seq.;
  • Grätz, Haggadische Elemente bei den Kirchenvätern, in Monatsschrift, 1854;
  • L. Ginzberg, Die Haggada bei den Kirchenvätern und in der Apokryphischen Literatur, Berlin, 1900.
J. I. Br.
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