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Myth and History in Eusebius's De vita Constantini: Vit. Const. 1.12 in Its Contemporary Setting

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 June 2011

Michael J. Hollerich
Santa Clara University


The opening chapters of Eusebius's De vita Constantini contain several comparisons of Constantine with great figures from the past. The first two, Cyrus and Alexander (Vit. Const. 1.7-8), are predictable names in a work that bears many features of conventional royal panegyric. But Eusebius's choice of Moses for a third comparison (Vit. Const. 1.12) departs from conventional norms and shows that the subject of his bios is not going to be measured simply by traditional imperial standards. The following analysis of Vit. Const. 1.12 begins with a consideration of Eusebius's choice of subjects to compare with Constantine. We will see that the literary construction of the comparison with Moses derives from biblical typology as much as it does from a typical classical synkrisis. Embedded in the typological construction is an allusion by Eusebius to a widespread opinion that the story of the Exodus was a myth. This aspect of the comparison has not received the attention which it deserves. I will argue that the mythic reference works against the rhetoric of the comparison as a whole. Its anomalous presence requires an explanation. This paper identifies various sources of the mythic charge, and defends the hypothesis that the critic foremost in Eusebius's mind was the pagan philosopher Porphyry. It ends with the conclusion that the triumph of Constantine was a valuable antidote to the critique of Exodus as myth.

Research Article
Copyright © President and Fellows of Harvard College 1989

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1 Eusebius, De vita Constantini 1.7-8, 12, inGoogle ScholarEusebius' Werke (9 vols.; GCS; Leipzig/Berlin: J. C. Hinrichs and Akademie-Verlag, 1902-1975), vol. 1, pt. 1, 2nd ed.,Google ScholarWinkelmann, Friedhelm, ed., Über das Leben des Kaisers Konstantin (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1975)Google Scholar. This paper assumes, with most recent scholarship, that Eusebius himself wrote the Vita Constantini shortly after the emperor's death. See Barnes, Timothy D., Constantine and Eusebius (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1980) 265–71Google Scholar. Modern scholarship on the subject of authorship and authenticity is reviewed by Winkelmann, Friedhelm, “Zur Geschichte des Authentizitätsproblems der Vita Constantini,” Klio 40 (1962) 187243Google Scholar. For other bibliography see Quasten, Johannes, Patrology (3 vols.; Westminster, MD: Christian Classics, 1983) 3.319–24, andGoogle ScholarYoung, Frances, From Nicaea to Chalcedon: A Guide to the Literature and Its Background (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983) 1416, 355 -58Google Scholar. My approach to the Vita Constantini follows that of Cameron, Averil, “Eusebius of Caesarea and the Rethinking of History,” in Gabba, Emilio, ed., Tria Corda: Scritti in onore di Arnaldo Momigliano (Como: Edizioni New Press, 1983) 7188Google Scholar. She recommends that we study the Vita Constantini not just to evaluate its historical authenticity, but as a valuable source for understanding Eusebius himself (p. 73).

2 A short preliminary version of this paper was read at the Tenth International Patristics Conference at Oxford in 1987, and will appear in volume 19 of Studia Patristica. I would like to thank Prof. William Schoedel of the University of Illinois, Prof. Robert Wilken of the University of Virginia, and Prof. A. Thomas Kraabel of Luther College, for their valuable suggestions in the revision of this paper.

3 An alternative but less likely translation is “under the guise of myth.” Cf. below, part II.

4 Vit. Const. 1.12, rev. trans, by Richardson, E. C., in A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, vol. 1: Eusebius: Church History, Life of Constantine the Great, and Oration in Praise of Constantine (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982) 485Google Scholar(translation considerably altered).

5 Aristotle, Rhet. 1.9.3839Google Scholar.

6 Menander, Peri epideiktikôn 372.21-25Google Scholar; 376.31-377.10, in Russell, D. A. and Wilson, N. G., eds., Menander Rhetor (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981)Google Scholar.

7 See the structure of the epideictic encomium known as the basilikos logos preserved in Menander Peri epideiktikôn: a προοíμιον (368.3-369.17), the subject's γ⋯νος (his country, city, nation, family, 369.18-370.28), his γ⋯νεσις (circumstances of his birth, 370.28-371.17), his άνατροφ⋯ (upbringing, 371.17-372.1), his έπιτηδεúματα (youthful deeds revelatory of character, 372.1-13), his πράζεις (of war and peace, 372.14-376.23), his good fortune (τύχη. 376.24-31), a σúκρισις with other famous men (376.31 -377.9), and an έπíλογος (conclusion, 377.9-30).

8 On the controverted matter of the literary genre of the Vita Constantini: Winkelmann, the editor, describes it in essence as an encomium, with substantial elements of biography (the chronological form) and history (the use of documentation), noting that its encomiastic character suited Eusebius's need to be very selective in his material, in order to portray an ideal picture of a Christian emperor for use by Constantine's successors (Winkelmann, , ed., Über das Leben des Kaisers Konstantin, xlix–liii)Google Scholar. Barnes has recently proposed that Eusebius began writing an encomium and switched to a biography, but died before he could revise the work (Constantine and Eusebius, 265-71). On the role of rhetoric in Eusebius's writings on Constantine, see Vigna, Gerald, “The Influence of Epideictic Rhetoric on Eusebius of Caesarea's Political Theology” (Ph.D. diss., Northwestern University, 1980)Google Scholar.

9 Vit. Const. 1.13-18 discusses his father Constantius and deals with his γ⋯νος, 1.12, 19-20 with his φὐσις and άνατροπ⋯.

10 Ibid., 1.7-8.

11 Cf. Peri epideiktikôn 376.31-377.2. Menander specifically names Cyrus and Alexander as subjects for synkriseis (371.9; 377.9).

12 On the death of Cyrus, see for example Herodotus, Hist. 1.205–14Google Scholar, to which Eusebius appears to be referring, and Siculus, DiodorusBibliotheca 2.44.2Google Scholar. Xenophon, (Cyrop. 8.7.228)Google Scholar says Cyrus died in bed.

13 Vit. Const. 4.56. Constantine died before he could begin the campaign. See most recently Barnes, Timothy D., “Constantine and the Christians of Persia,” JRomS 75 (1985) 126–36Google Scholar.

14 E.g., in the Commentarii in lsaiam, [Comm. in Is.] 288.18-290.31, in Eusebius' Werke, vol. 9, Ziegler, Joseph, ed., Der Jesajakommentar (GCS; Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1975)Google Scholar.

15 Josephus, Ant. 11.17Google Scholar.

16 Ibid., 11.1 - 2, cited by Eusebius, in Comm. in Is. 290.25-30Google Scholar.

17 Vit. Const. 4.9-13 for the text of the letter, and Barnes, , “Constantine and the Christians of Persia,” 131–32, for commentGoogle Scholar.

18 Vit. Const. 1.3.3-4. So Cameron, , “Eusebius of Caesarea,” 85Google Scholar.

19 Historia ecclesiastica [Hist, eccl.] 9.9.2-8, in Eusebius' Werke, vol. 2, pts. 1-3, Schwartz, Eduard, ed.. Die Kirchengeschichte (Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs, 1903-1909)Google Scholar. Later in Book 1 of the Vita Constantini, Eusebius reused this earlier and better known version of the Moses-Constantine comparison (Hist. eccl. 9.9.3-11 = Vit. Const. 1.37.2-40.2). See below for discussion.

20 See, e.g., Josephus, C. Ap. 2.145289Google Scholar, esp. 154 and 161, comparing Moses with Solon, , Lycurgus, , Zaleucus, , and Minos, , and Ant. 2.243–53Google Scholar, on Moses as a general. Also Philo's De vita Mosis, which treats Moses as a Platonic philosopher-king as well as a law-giver, high priest, and prophet (cf. Vit. Mos. 2.1 - 7 for a statement of his choice of categories).

21 See Gager, John, Moses in Greco-Roman Paganism (SBLMS 16; Nashville: Abingdon, 1972)Google Scholar, and more recently his The Origins of Anti-Semitism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985), 6780, 102-7Google Scholar.

22 Eusebius Praeparatio evangelica [Praep. ev.] 8.8.1-55 (= C.Ap. 2.163-228), in Eusebius' Werke, vol. 8, pts. 1 and 2, Mras, K., ed., Die Praeparatio Evangelica (GCS 43, pts. 1 and 2; Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1954, 1956)Google Scholar.

23 Praep. ev. 9.26 (Eupolemus), 27 (Artapanus).

25 Dvornik, Francis, Early Christian and Byzantine Political Philosophy (2 vols.; Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, 1966) 2.644Google Scholar.

26 Vit. Const. 1.3.3-4; 1.52, and elsewhere. Moses as God's θερáπων: 1.12.2; 1.38.5; 1.39.1. Constantine as God's θερáπων: 1.5.2-6; 1.47.2-3 (especially interesting because here Constantine i s credited with divine visions and prophetic powers); 2.2.3; 4.14.1; 4.71.2.

27 Though in Hist. eccl. 9.9.2 - 8 Eusebius passes over this particular verse of the Song of Miriam, while citing Exod 15:1-2,4-5, 10-11.

28 Becker, Erich, “Protest gegen den Kaiserkult und Verherrlichung des Sieges am Pons Milvius in der christlichen Kunst der konstantinischen Zeit,” in Dölger, F. J., ed., Konstantin der Groβe und seine Zeit (RQSupp 19; Freiburg i. Br.: Herder, 1913) 155–90Google Scholar. Becker reports an iconographic detail that tells much about the spirit in which later Christians regarded Constantine's triumph: in a medieval sketch of the sarcophagus of Louis the Pious, otherwise extant only in fragments, the tambourine of Miriam appears to contain the chi-rho (pp. 184-85). In an earlier article, Becker traced later Byzantine imperial applications of Moses-motifs; see his Konstantin der Groβe, der ‘neue Moses,’” ZKG 31 (1910) 161–71Google Scholar.

29 See below.

30 Cf. Strabo, Geographia 1.2Google Scholar. Quotations are from the Loeb edition of H. L. Jones (LCL; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1917).

31 E.g., σὐ σχ ⋯μασι…άλ' άληθεíα Plato, Epin. 989cGoogle Scholar; σχ⋯ματι ζενíας, “by a pretence of friendship,” Plutarch, Dion. 16.1; LSJ, 1745a-bGoogle Scholar.

32 Cf. LSJ 1925b: Aeschylus Suppl. 760 (proverbial saying); Euripides El. 701 (hoary tales); Plato Leg. 713c (a fabulous story of primeval fertility and abundance) and Phileb. 16c (the myth of Prometheus handed down by the ancients). Note especially Polybius's denunciation of the historian Timaeus's reliance on ancient tales (άρχαíαι φ⋯μαι, Historiae 12.3.2). Dio Chrysostom, as part of a sophistical attack on the historicity of the Trojan War, remarks that the masses (οí πολλοí) lack accurate knowledge; they only hear rumor (φ⋯μης άκοὑονσι μóνον, Or. 11.146).

33 E.g., Praep. ev. 2.Prooem.2; 2.4.5; 2.7.8-9; 3.Prooem.

34 Ibid. 3.Prooem.4, trans. E. H. Gifford.

35 Ibid. 2.7.8. On the use of myth in the Timaeus, see Vlastos, Gregory, “The Disorderly Motion in the Timaeus,” in Allen, R. E., ed., Studies in Plato's Metaphysics (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1965) 380–83Google Scholar, a reference I owe to Prof. William Prior of Santa Clara University.

36 For example, μ⋯ πλασθ⋯ντα μúθον άλλ'άληθινòν λóγον, Plato, Tim. 26eGoogle Scholar; μúθοι πεπλασμ⋯νοι in Siculus, DiodorusBibliotheca 1.93.3; 2.46.6; 23.13Google Scholar; τοùς άπλαστòν άληθεíαν άντìπεπλασμ⋯νων μνθ⋯ν μεταδιωκóντας, Philo, Exsecr. 162; andGoogle ScholarJosephus, C. Ap. 1.287Google Scholar, which contrasts the Egyptian historian Manetho's reliability in his account of the Jews when he is drawing from “ancient records,” with his distortions based on unverified mythoi.

37 Cf. Titus 1:14; 1 Tim 4:7; 2 Pet 1:16.

38 One exception would be the vocabulary of apocalyptic, although Eusebius prefers to criticize the apocalyptic strand of biblical literature obliquely, by discrediting its use by later Christian authors, rather than attacking it directly. Cf. his criticism of the myth-ridden millennarianism of Papias (Hist. eccl. 3.39.11-13).

39 Hist. eccl. 9.9.3-5,7-8, trans, J. E. L. Oulton. Eusebius quoted the whole passage verbatim twenty-five years later in the Vita Constantini (Hist. eccl. 9.9.3-11 = Vit. Const. 1.37.2-40.2).

40 The phrase έν λóγῳ μúθου σχ⋯ματι is roughly equivalent to μúθου σχ⋯ματι. Cf. LSJ logos 1057a: έν λóγφεỉναι = “to be reckoned as, count as.”

41 The contrast is expressed emphatically by the play on the various words formed from the root of πíοτις. The particle γε, which focuses attention on πιστá, is used in the so-called limitative sense, cf. Denniston, J. D., The Greek Particles (2d ed.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1954) 140–44Google Scholar. In conjunction with μ⋯ν, the sense is strongly adversative (ibid., 348-49).

The difference in the two passages was obscured by an error in the Richardson translation of the Vit. Const., which rendered φ⋯μη…μúθον τοῖς παραδεδομ⋯νη as “though rejected by most as fabulous.” But παραδíδωμι cannot mean reject or deny. Richardson incorrectly gave the Greek text a strongly concessive interpretation, and thereby obscured the degree to which Eusebius acquiesces in the mythic characterization. Possibly the translator was misled by the parallel with what Eusebius says in Vit. Const. 1.38.1 (= Hist. eccl. 9.9.4), τà…ὥςέν μúθον λóγψ παρàτοῖς άπιστουν⋯να, and so chose, mistakenly, to read Vit. Const. 1.12.2 as its semantic equivalent.

42 Cf. Part III.

43 This dialectical relationship is clearly brought out in Jean Danielou's discussion of patristic typological interpretation of the Exodus, in his book From Shadow to Reality: Studies in the Biblical Typology of the Fathers (Westminster, MD: Newman, 1960) 175201Google Scholar.

44 Chrysostom, JohnIn 1 Cor10:lff.Google Scholar(PG 51.248), cited ibid., p. 192 (translation slightly altered).

45 Comm. in Is. 280.11 -281.27.

46 Daniélou noted this feature of Eusebius's exegesis in his article on interpretation of the Exodus n i RAC 7.38.

47 Eusebius, Dem. ev. 3.2.130Google Scholar, in Eusebius' Werke vol. 6, Heikel, Ivar, ed., Die Demonstratio Evangelica (GCS, 23; Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs, 1913)Google Scholar.

48 See the analysis of Bruns, J. E., “The ‘Agreement of Moses and Jesus’ in the Demonstratio Evangelica of Eusebius,” VC 31 (1977) 117–25Google Scholar.

49 Hanson, R. P. C., Allegory and Event (Richmond: John Knox, 1959) 14Google Scholar.

50 E.g., the references to prophecy fulfilled through the course of events, ή τ⋯ν πραγμáτν ἔκβασις (Comm. in Is. 46.14 - 15; 68.21; 126.31; 304.3-5). Cf. Hollerich, Michael J., “The Godly Polity in the Light of Prophecy: A Study of Eusebius of Caesarea's ‘Commentary on Isaiah’” (Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 1986) chs. 3, 6Google Scholar.

51 E.g., Comm. in Is. 48.22-49.28 (on Isa 7:14!).

52 Rufinus Historia ecclesiastica 9.9.5-8, ed. Mommsen, Google Scholar.

53 Artapanus, ap. Eusebius Praep. ev. 9.27.35Google Scholar.

54 Dux [sc. Moses] igitur exulum factus sacra Aegyptiorum furto abstulit quae repetentes armis Aegyptii domum redire tempestatibus conpulsi sunt, from Book 36, Historiae Philippicae, as preserved in the third or fourth century summary of Justin (Epitome 2.13), in Stem, Menachem, ed., with introduction, translation and commentary, Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism (2 vols.; Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1974) 1.336Google Scholar.

55 Josephus, Ant. 2.347–48 (trans. Thackeray, H. St. J.)Google Scholar.

56 Mentioned in Arrian, Anabasis 1.26 andGoogle ScholarStrabo, Geographia 14.3.9Google Scholar.

57 Cf. the dictum of Lucian, in Hist, conscr. 60:Google Scholar “And should any myth come into question, it should be related but not wholly credited: rather it should be left open for readers to conjecture about it as they will, but do you take no risks and incline neither to one opinion nor to the other.” Quoted by Thackeray, H. St. J., Josephus, (LCL; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1930) 4.5253Google Scholar, note b. As noted by Thackeray, Josephus also uses the formula in Ant. 1.108 (of the great ages of the antediluvian men); 3.81, and elsewhere.

58 Ap. 1.223. For Manetho, ibid. 1.227-50; Chaeremon, 1.288-92; Lysimachus, 1.304-11; Apion, 2.10-11, 21.

59 For an analysis of this hostile literary tradition of the Exodus, see Gager, Moses in Greco-Roman Paganism, ch. 3.

65 Ap. 1.307-8.

61 Ibid., 2.25.

62 The main collection of ninety-seven fragments is that of Harnack, Adolf, “Porphyrius, ‘Gegen die Christen,’ 15 Bücher. Zeugnisse, Fragmente und Referate,” Abhandlungen der königlichen preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Phil.-Hist. Kl., 1916, Nr. 1Google Scholar. The Porphyrian provenance of over half of Harnack's collection has been cast into doubt by Barnes, Timothy D., “Porphyry Against the Christians: Date and the Attribution of Fragments,” JTS n.s. 24 (1973) 424–42Google Scholar. For recent scholarship on Porphyry and Contra Christianos, see Wilken, Robert L., “Pagan Criticism of Christianity: Greek Religion and Christian Faith,” in Schoedel, William R. and Wilken, Robert L., eds., Early Christian Literature and the Classical Intellectual Tradition: In Honorem Robert M. Grant (ThH 53; Paris: Beauchesne, 1979) 117–34Google Scholar, and idem. The Christians As the Romans Saw Them (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984) 126-56; Meredith, Anthony, “Porphyry and Julian Against the Christians,” in ANRW (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1980)–49Google Scholar.

63 E.g., Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 6.19.2Google Scholar. Other citations in Wilken, , “Pagan Criticism of Christianity,” 129 n. 10Google Scholar.

64 Wilken, , The Christians as the Romans Saw Them, 137–43Google Scholar.

65 Cf. Harnack, ed., “Porphyrius Gegen die Christen,” frags. 3847Google Scholar. To these should be added the allusions to Porphyry found in the papyrus remains of the biblical commentaries of Didymus the Blind, cf. Hagedorn, Dieter and Merkelbach, Reinhold, “Ein neues Fragment aus Porphyrios Gegen die Christen,” VC 20 (1966) 8690, andGoogle ScholarBinder, G., “Eine Polemik des Porphyrios gegen die allegorische Auslegung des Alten Testaments durch die Christen,” Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 3 (1968) 8195Google Scholar.

66 “Porphyry, who was a philosopher in our time” (Chronicon Book 1 in the Armenian, p. 109 ed. Karst, cited in Harnack, ed., 30-31); “Porphyry, who while resident in Sicily during our time, wrote the books against us” (Hist. eccl. 6.19.2).

67 Porphyry's, De philosophia ex oraculis is cited directly in Dem. ev. 3.7.12Google Scholar(140.3-19 ed. Heikel) and De abstinentia in Dem. ev. 3.3.10(111.7-16). According to the index of Mras' edition, the Praep. ev. has 96 references to Porphyry's works.

68 Praep. ev. 5.1.9; 5.14.3; 4.9.7; 10.9.11.

69 Cf. the meager ancient notices on this work collected by Harnack, , Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur bis Eusebius (1893-1904; reprinted in 2 vols., Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs, 1958) l, pt. 2. 564-65Google Scholar.

70 Cf. Praep. ev. 1.9.20; 5.1.9; 5.5.4; 5.36.5. According to frag. 39 ed. Harnack, an excerpt from Eusebius's Historia ecclesiastica, the title of the work was κατà χριστιαν⋯ν (HE 6.19).

71 Harnack's, speculation, Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur, 2, pt. 2.119.Google Scholar

72 Hist. eccl. 6.19.2.

73 Cf. the citation from De phil. ex orac. in Dem. ev. 3.6.36-3.7.1. On Eusebius's view of this work of Porphyry, see Wilken, , “Pagan Criticism of Christianity,” 125–28Google Scholar.

74 Dem. ev. 8.2. Does this long discussion come from Eusebius's lost work against Porphyry? Jerome says that Eusebius devoted the 18th, 19th and 20th books (!) of that work to refuting Porphyry's comments on the abomination of desolation passage in Daniel, (Jerome Comm. in Matt. 24:1617Google Scholar, frag. 44 ed. Harnack).

75 On the purpose of the Praeparatio evangelica, cf. Praep. ev. 1.1-3.

76 Praep. ev. 1.2.1-4. The same ideas are expressed in 4.1.2 - 3.

77 Frag. 1 in Harnack's edition, based on the research of Wilamowitz-Moellendorf. Wilken, has argued for the latter source, cf. “Pagan Criticism of Christianity,” 119–20, 127Google Scholar.

78 τοîς όθνeíοις μÚθοιs [SC. of the Jews] (Hist.eccl. 6.19) = τ⋯⋯ δ' όθνεíων…Ιουδαικώνμυθολογημάτων(Praep. ev. 1.2.3); the Jewish scriptures are characterized as μοχθηρíα (Hist. eccl. 6.19.3), as is Christian dissent from ancestral religion (Praep. ev. 1.2.4).

79 Praep. ev. 1.1.11. Cf. also ibid. 1.3.1, “…συκοψάνταδ ΠροαΠοδεíξαντες τοÙς μηδέν Ěχειν ήμ⋯ς διάποδείξεως παριστάναι άλóγῳ δέ πίστει προσέχειν άποφηναμένους”

80 Dem. ev. 1.1.12, 15, frag. 73 ed. Harnack.

81 Hamack, , Porphyrius Gegen die Christen, p. 91Google Scholar frag. 73. For other pagan expressions of the same notion, cf. Celsus in Origen C. Cels. 1.9, 3.44, 6.11-12 ed. Chadwick; and Galen's remark. “If I had in mind people who taught their pupils in the same way as the followers of Moses and Christ teach theirs—for they order them to accept everything on faith—I should not have given you a definition.” In Walzer, Richard, Galen on Jews and Christians (London: Oxford University Press, 1949) 15, 4856Google Scholar, cited in Chadwick, p. 12n., Porphyry seems more likely to have been Eusebius's source on this arguing point, since Celsus is very rarely mentioned by Eusebius as a critic in his own right, as in Eusebius's, Contra Hieroclem 1.1Google Scholar.

82 Hist. eccl. 9.9.4.

83 Frag. 41 ed. Harnack, preserved in Eusebius, Praep. ev. 1.9.20Google Scholar; 10.9.12; frag. 4 ed. Hamack, which reflects familiarity with an Exodus episode well known in pagan literature, cf. Origen, C. Cels. 4.51Google Scholar and Eusebius, Praep.ev. 9.8.12Google Scholar. In the latter Porphyry notes that the ability to perform wonders is not such a great thing, because the Egyptian priests against Moses, Apollonius, and Apuleius all did them.

84 Frag. 68 ed. Harnack.

85 Frag. 82 ed. Harnack; also cf. frag. 81.

86 I follow here Wilken, , “Pagan Criticism of Christianity,” 120–28Google Scholar, who makes effective use of Augustine's discussion of Porphyry's, view of Jesus in De civitate Dei 19.23Google Scholar. Porphyry's reductionist christology is also reflected in the quotation from De phil. ex orac. in Eusebius, Dem. ev. 3.7.1Google Scholar.

87 See, e.g., the similar approach of Celsus a century earlier, as found in Origen, C. Cels. 1.24Google Scholar; 5.41; cf. Wilken, , The Christians as the Romans Saw Them, 104–8Google Scholar.

88 Boer, W. den, “A Pagan Historian and His Enemies: Porphyry Against the Christians,” CP 69 (1974) 198208Google Scholar, esp. 206-7.

89 Frag. 35 ed. Harnack.

90 Boer, Den, “A Pagan Historian and His Enemies,” 206–7Google Scholar.

91 Hagedorn, and Merkelbach, , “Ein neues Fragment aus Porphyrius Gegen die Christen,” VC 20 (1966) 8690. Barnes notes that the same idea occurs in frag. 94Google Scholar(Barnes, , “Porphyry Against the Christians,” 427)Google Scholar.

92 First proposed by Chadwick, Henry, The Sentences of Sextus (Texts, 5; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1959) 66Google Scholar, cited by Wilken, , The Christians As the Romans Saw Them, 135.Google ScholarBarnes, , “Porphyry Against the Christians,” 433–42Google Scholar, presents a detailed argument, on different grounds than Chadwick, for a “probable” date early in the fourth century, rather than late in the third. Wilken's contribution to the Grant festschrift also locates Porphyry's polemic in the Diocletianic persecution, but focuses instead on the role played by De phil. ex orac., which he redates from early in Porphyry's career to the early fourth century.

93 Praep.ev. 5.1.10.

94 !Vit. Const. 2.50-51.

95 On polemical exchanges between Christians and pagans on the eve of the persecution, see now Frend, W. H. C., “Prelude to the Great Persecution. The Propaganda War,” JEH 38 (1987) 118Google Scholar.

96 On early Christian interpretation of Exodus, see the convenient summary of Daniélou, , “Exodus,” RAC 7.3239Google Scholar.

97 The phrase is embedded in a quotation of Porphyry found in a letter of Jerome, Frag. 82 ed. Harnack, hence not certainly Porphyry's own words; Barnes, , “Porphyry Against the Christians,” 435–37Google Scholar.

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