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Eusebius Of Caesarea And The Concept Of Paganism

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Chapter Summary

In scholarship the term paganism is often rejected on the grounds that it reflects Christian attempts to project a false unity onto the variety of ancient religions. Although this is true to a certain extent, this chapter argues that philosophers of the imperial age already ascribed a fundamental unity to all religions, and that Christian apologists drew on these ideas to formulate their own concept of paganism. The creation of paganism should thus been seen as a dialectical process, not as a onesided projection. The chapter concentrates on one important work, one of the places where paganism is born: the Praeparatio Evangelica of Eusebius of Caesarea, a massive fifteen volume work written in the early 4th c. A.D. Paganism is also not a purely polemical Christian construct: the creation of paganism is a dialectical process, which started in ancient philosophy and later developed through interaction with Christian apologists like Eusebius.

Keywords: Christian apologists; Eusebius of Caesarea; paganism; Praeparatio Evangelica



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