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Eusebius' Polemic Against Porphyry: A Reassessment

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Chapter Summary

Eusebius is often considered as the 'Anti-Porphyry'. Two reasons may account for this reputation: first, the fact that Eusebius wrote a Contra Porphyrium, now lost; second, and above all, the fact that his master work, composed of the Praeparatio euangelica (= PE) and the Demonstratio euangelica (= DE), is often considered as an answer to Porphyry's Contra Christianos. This way of reading the whole apology is prior to A. von Harnack. Lenain de Tillemont, in the 18th century, already stated that in his apology, Eusebius "refutes Porphyry almost everywhere, often without mentioning him. The chapter focuses on the DE. The author deals with the plan and content of the work, so as to show that the general intention of Eusebius has nothing to do with Porphyry.

Keywords: Contra Christianos; Demonstratio euangelica (DE); Eusebius; Porphyry; Praeparatio euangelica (PE)

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