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The Natural World in the Sermons of Eusebius of Emesa

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In his extant sermons, Eusebius of Emesa rejected the use of natural analogies, such as the sun and its light, to clarify the relationship between the Father and the Son. This is remarkable not only because he was otherwise committed to the theological tradition of Origen as mediated through Eusebius of Caesarea, both of whom used such analogies, but also because he was willing to direct his audiences' attention to the natural world in many of his sermons to establish other theological positions of the church. In this article I will argue that his rejection of natural analogies in this instance must be understood in the broader context of his use of nature in general in his sermons. I conclude that his affirmation or denial of the usefulness of the natural world depended on whether it would affirm or undermine the religious identity of the church.


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