Sunday, July 3, 2011

Eusebius: The Church History, Book 13 of 52 in 52

I know I'm way behind in my book challenge, but I'm finally getting back to having some reading time.  For book 13 I've been working on The Church History by Eusebius with Paul Maier as translator and commentator as part of preparing for Omnibus 2 with my 7th grader this fall.

The Church History was written by Eusebius who lived in the late 3rd and early 4th century and served as a bishop in Caesarea.  This text summarizes the history of the Christian church from the time of Christ to the reign of Constantine included the succession of bishops in important churches, the succession of Roman emperors, as well as stories, writing, controversies, and historical events of the time period.  He does an excellent job of weaving into the story numerous excerpts from a variety of sources including the works of Josephus, various letters written by different bishops, translations of edicts from Roman emperors, and other first hand accounts of the events.

I have to say that I'm usually not a big fan of non-fiction nor am I a major history lover; however, I truly did enjoy this book.  There are moments like some of the lists of bishop successon that can be a bit dry and tedious, but there are also an amazing number of first-hand accounts that I found both an engrossing and enlightening means of glimpsing the reality of the time.  While there are necessarily a large number of stories of various martyrs, I only found one paragraph at the end of part 6 of book 3 quoting a description of Josephus concerning the conditions inside Jerusalem during the siege of Trajan that I felt compelled to mark for by daughter to skip this fall. 


herdingcats said...

That sounds interesting. I wish our library had it. My husband has been reading some books that reference Eusebius. I wonder if we can get it on an inter-library loan? Thank you for sharing about it.

Brian said...

Another commenter wondered about getting the book via interlibrary loan. I'm sure that would be possible, but it's also worth mentioning that there are public domain translations freely available online, such as: