Eusebius of Caesarea MSS

Eusebius of Caesarea (264-339) is commonly known today as the Father of Church History. Little is known about his life.

This article contains the primary manuscripts (and others) for two of his works. The first work is his Historia ecclesiastica. The second work is his Chronicon. Manuscripts that had no information available are not included except for their siglums sometimes.

“…Eusebius is our principal primary source for earliest Christianity, and his Church History is the cornerstone chronicle on which later historians would build.”
– Paul Maier (1999)[5, p.9]

“It is as an historian that he is best known, but the importance of his historical writings should not cause us to overlook, as modern scholars have been prone to do, his invaluable productions in other departments.”
– Philip Schaff (1890)[6, p.31]

“The Ecclesiastical History is absolutely unique and indispensable. The Chronicle is the vast storehouse of information relating to the ancient monarchies of the world.”
– Lightfoot[6, p.31]

“He was, above all things, an apologist; and the apologetic aim governed both the selection of his subjects and method of his treatment. He composed none of his works with a purely scientific aim.”
-Philip Schaff (1890)[6, p.33]

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Eusebius’ Historia ecclesiastica (Church History)

The Greek Text

Primary MSS

Excluded: Σ, L.

E: 10th c.

T: 10th-11th cc.

A: 11th c.

B, D: 11th-12th centuries

M, R: 12th c.

The Greek works are split into two main groups; BDMΣL and ATER.
The MSS have numerous internal inconsistencies.

The Armenian Text

There are three Armenian texts, all of which are dated to the 17th century. Two of those MSS were used when the Mechitarists printed an edition in Venice in 1877.

The Latin Text

Clm 6383: 8th c.

Clm6381: 9th c. or 10th c.

Clm 14040: 12th c.

Sang.: 13th c.

C: 15th c.

G: 15th-16th cc.

All of the Latin texts have either odd or unknown origins.

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Eusebius’ Chronicle

Believed to have been first written in 303 AD and revised/updated until 325/6. The surviving MS are not based upon the original edition, but later editions.

It consists of two parts;

1: Chronography

2: Chronological Canons

Greek Text

Apart from some (mysterious) fragments, the Greek text is lost.

Armenian Text

“In 1782 the Constantinopolitan Armenologist, Orientalist and translator George Dpir Ter Yovhannisean (1737-1811), known under the surname George Dpir Palateci, discovered the Armenian version of the “chronicle”of Eusebius and made this useful source for the study of early Christian history in the orient and occident, whose Greek original has been lost, available in a more genuine form to the following generations.”

I suspect the Armenian texts have obscure origins. An example being, “the guest in the night got thirsty and found —- while searching for a water jug —- a parchment manuscript with a tight leather cover which served in his host’s household as a lid for the water jug”. Maybe this is legitimate, but I will need to look into it further before seriously considering the authenticity of the Armenian texts.

Latin Text

“…, St. Jerome translated the second part of the text into Latin, bringing it down to his own time and adding additional Latin-oriented material. In this form it dominated medieval historiography, and became one of the fundamental books on which all study of the past has taken its origin.”

MSS of St. Jerome’s Latin translation

A: 7th c. (questionable origins, possibly 17th c. surfacing)

T, Q: 9th c.

P: 9th c. (Petavianus, possibly surfaces in the 17th c.?)

L, C: 9th c./10th c.

D: 10th

O, S, F: surfaces out of obscurity 16th c. (O and S are believed to be 5th c. creations. F from the 9th c.)

B: surfaces out of obscurity 17th c.

M, N – surfaces out of obscurity 19th c.

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Eusebius’ “Demonstratio Evangelica”

Parisinus 469, “the Medicean” – w. 12th c.

There are four from the 16th century labeled 471-473. There is a fifth manuscript from the 15th century. These 5 are considered to all be based on Parisinus 469.

There is a 15th century manuscript which is held at the Ambrosian Library in Milan. A seventh one exists which is also from the 15th century.

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Eusebius’ “Theophania” (Divine Manifestation), “Martyrs of Palestine” (long version), “Enconium of the Martyrs”

This collection of works was obtained (discovered?) from the Nitrian desert in 1839.

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[1] –

[2] –

[3] –

[4] –

[5] – Maier, Paul L. “Eusebius–the church history : a new translation with commentary” (1999). Accessed 19 Sept. 2020.

[6] –,_Schaff._Philip,_3_Vol_01_Eusebius_Pamphilius,_EN.pdf. Accessed 20 Sept. 2020.

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One Comment on “Eusebius of Caesarea MSS

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