Preparation for the Gospel (Greek: Εὐαγγελικὴ προπαρασκευή), commonly known by its Latin title Praeparatio evangelica, was a work of Christian apologetics written by Eusebius in the. : Eusebius of Caesarea: Praeparatio Evangelica (The Preparation of the Gospel) eBook: Eusebius of Caesarea: Kindle Store. Eusebius’ Praeparatio Evangelica is a masterful work that defies easy categorization. Written between and , soon after Eusebius had become bishop of.

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Praeparatio Evangelica Preparation for the Gospel. Gifford — Book 3. SUCH were the opinions entertained by the best philosophers and by the ancient and most eminent men of the Roman Empire in regard to the theology of the Greeksopinions which give no admission to physical theories in the legends concerning the gods, nor to their gorgeous and sophistical impostures. Since, however, we have evangeloca entered upon their refutation, let us go on and consider their interpretations and theories, to see what, after all, they bring ;raeparatio them that is venerable and worthy evangelic the gods; and let us say nothing of ourselves, but on all points make use of their own words, so that we may again learn their venerable secrets from themselves.

Now much labour has been spent upon these subjects by numberless other professors of philosophy, who have made different subtle explanations of the same, and strongly insist that the eusebiuw which occurred to each was the exact truth. But for my part I am content to bring forward my proofs from the most illustrious authors who are well known to all philosophers, and have carried off no small reputation for philosophy among the Greeks.

Of whom eysebius first and read the words of Plutarch of Chaeroneia on the questions before us, wherein with solemn phrase he perverts the fables into what he asserts to be mysterious theologies. And in unveiling these he says that Dionysus is drunkenness, and no longer the mortal man who has been exhibited by the history in the preceding book; and that Hera means the joint wedded life of husband and wife.

Then, as fvangelica he had forgotten his rendering, he forthwith tacks on a different story, and no longer uses the name Hera as before, but calls the earth by her name, and gives the name Leto to oblivion and night. And again he says that Hera is the same as Leto.

Then in addition to this he introduces Zeus as representing allegorically the power of the air. But why need I thus anticipate, when we may hear the man himself, in the essay which he wrote On the Daedala at Plataea, expounding as follows what was hidden from the multitude in the secret physiological doctrines concerning the gods.

This is evident in the Orphic poems, and in the Egyptian and Phrygian stories: Again, those who sacrifice to Hera do not consecrate the gall, but bury it beside the altar, meaning that the wedded life of wife and husband ought to be free from anger and wrath, and undisturbed by rage and bitterness. As for instance, they relate that Hera, being brought up in Euboea. And when Macrisshe was Hera’s nursecame to seek her, and wished to make a search, Cithaeron would not let her pry about, or approach the spot, on pretence that Zeus was there resting and passing the time in company with Leto.

Some say that Hera had secret intercourse there with Zeus, and, being undiscovered, was thus herself denominated Leto of the night: Hera, as has been said, is the Earth, and Leto is night, being a sort of oblivion on the part of those who turn to sleep.

And night is nothing else but the shadow of the Earth. For when the Sun has reached the West and been hidden by the shadow, this spreads itself out and darkens the air: Moreover, that Leto is none other than Hera, you may learn from what follows.

Artemis we of course call the daughter of Latona, but we also name the same goddess Eileithyia: Hera therefore and Leto are two names of one goddess. For which reason also of the most fiery and blazing luminaries one, the sun, is named Apollo, and the other of a fiery red is surnamed Ares.

And it is not unsuitable that the same goddess Hera is called the goddess of marriage, and considered to be the mother of Eileithyia and of the sun.

Ethnicity and Argument in Eusebius’ Praeparatio Evangelica – Oxford Scholarship

For the end of evanbelica is birth; and birth is the passing out of darkness into the sun and light. Prseparatio it is a fine saying of the poet:. Rightly did the poet crowd the composition by the preposition, thereby indicating the hardness of the labour, and made the end of the birth consist in seeing the sun.

The same goddess therefore made also the marriage union, in order that she might prepare the way for birth. For it is said that when Hera was at variance with Zeus, and was no longer willing to consort with him, but hid herself, he was wandering about in perplexity and fell in with Alalcomenes the earth-born, and was taught by him that, to deceive Hera, he must pretend to wed another wife. So Alalcomenes helped him, and they secretly cut down a tall and beautiful oak, and shaped it and dressed it in bridal array, and called it Daedale: But when these performances went on, Hera could bear it no longer, but came down from Cithaeron, followed by the women of Plataea, and from anger and praeparatoo came running up to Zeus, and when the counterfeit became manifest, she was reconciled to him and with joy and laughter herself led the bridal procession, and gave additional honour to the statue, and called the festival Daedala, and nevertheless from jealousy burnt the thing, lifeless though it was.

The variance and quarrel of Hera and Zeus is nothing else than the distemper and confusion of the elements, when they no longer bear a due proportion to each other in the cosmos, but disproportion and roughness arise, and they have a desperate fight and dissolve their connexion, and work the ruin of the universe.

If then Zeus, that is, the force of heat and fire, gives occasion eangelica the variance, a drought overtakes the earth: And as something of this kind occurred about those times, and Boeotia especially had been evanyelica flooded, as soon as ever the plain emerged and the flood abated, the order which followed from the tranquillity of the atmosphere was called the agreement and reconciliation of the deities. The first of the plants that sprang up out of the praeparatil was the oak; and men welcomed this, because it gave a permanent supply of food and safety.

For not only for the pious, as Hesiod says, but for all who survive the destruction. THIS is what Plutarch says; and we learn from the statements which he sets before us, that even the wonderful and secret physiology of the Greek theology conveyed nothing divine, nor anything great and worthy of deity, and deserving of attention.


For you have heard Hera called at one time Gamelios, and a symbol of the joint life of husband and wife, and at another time the earth called Hera, and at another the element of water; and Dionysus translated into drunkenness, and Latona into night, and the sun into Apollo, and Zeus himself into the force of heat and fire.

So then the original indecency of the legends, and the physiological explanation, which is thought to be more respectable, led not up to any heavenly, intellectual, and divine powers, nor yet to rational and incorporeal essences, but the explanation itself led down again to drunkenness, and marriage feasts, and human passions, and reduced the parts of the cosmos to fire, and earth, and sun, and the other elements of matter, without introducing any other deity.

And Plato too knew this.

In the Cratylus, at least, he expressly acknowledges that the first inhabitants of Greece knew nothing more than the visible parts of the cosmos, and supposed the luminaries in the heaven and the other phenomena to be the only gods.

But such being the doctrines of the Greeks, let us look also at those which are far more ancient than these, I mean the Egyptian. They say that Isis and Osiris are the sun and the moon, and that they called the breath that pervades all things Zeus, and fire Hephaestus, and the earth Demeter; also the water was called among the Egyptians Oceanus, and their own river Nilus, and to him they ascribed the generations of the gods: And these five gods, I mean Air, and Water, and Fire, and Earth, and Breath, travel over the whole world, transforming themselves at various times into various shapes and semblances of men and animals of all kinds; and there have been among the Egyptians themselves mortal men called by the same names with these, Helios, and Kronos, and Rhea, and Zeus too and Hera, and Hephaestus and Hestia.

On these subjects also Manetho writes at large, and Diodorus concisely in his book before mentioned, giving the narrative just as follows word for word: These deities, they say, contribute most to the quickening of all things with life, Osiris making the chief contribution of fire and wind, and Isis of water and earth, and both alike of air; and by these all things are generated and nourished.

And for this reason, they say, the whole body of universal nature is made up completely out of the sun and moon, and as to the live parts of these before mentioned, breath, fire, earth, water, and finally airjust as in a man we count up head, and hands, and feet, and the other membersin the same manner the body of the cosmos is all composed of the parts before mentioned. So they called the wind Zeus, the word being so interpreted, and as he was the author of the soul in living beings they supposed him to be, as it were, a father of all.

The earth they supposed to be a sort of vessel containing all natural productions, and called it Mother: She was called also Tritogeneia from changing her nature thrice in the year, in spring, summer, and winter.

She is also called Glaucopis, not as some of the Greeks supposed because she had light-blue eyes, for this is silly, but because the air has a bluish appearance. The poet too, they say, having landed in Egypt, and had tales of this kind imparted to him by the priests, in a certain passage of his poem stated the above-mentioned circumstance as actually occurring:.

Of these some have the same names, when interpreted, as the gods of heaven, but others have received a name of their own; as Helios, and Kronos, and Rhea, and Zeus also, whom some call Ammon; and in addition to these Hera, Hephaestus, and Hestia, and Hermes last: Moreover Plutarch, in his book On the story of Isis, writes as follows, word for word: Now, just as the Greeks make Kronos an allegorical name for time Chronosand Hera for the air, and the birth of Hephaestus for the transformation of air into fire, so these say that in like manner among the Egyptians Osiris is the Nile, wedded to Isis the earth, and Typhon is the sea, into which the Nile falls and disappears.

After these and similar statements, he refers the legends concerning the said deities back again to daemons, and then again gives first one allegorical rendering and afterwards another. Now we might reasonably ask, to which set of gods, will they say, do the forms belong which are engraven on their statues. Are they those of daemons? Or those of fire, and air, and earth, and water?

Or likenesses of men and women, and shapes of brute animals praepaatio wild beasts? For it has been admitted even by themselves that certain mortal men have had the same names with the Sun and the universal elements, and that these men have been called gods. Of which then would it be reasonable to say that the sculptures on the lifeless statues are forms and images? Of the universal elements? Or, as their appearance plainly shows, of mortals now lying among the dead?

Why, even if they would not say so themselves, surely true reason shouts and cries aloud, all but in actual speech, and testifies that they of whom we speak have been mortal men. And Plutarch with superabundant pains describes the particular character of their bodily shapes, in his work On Isis and the Gods of Egypt. So then their whole manufacture of gods consists of dead men; and their physical explanations are fictitious. For what need was there to model figures of men and women, when without them they could worship the sun and moon and the other elements of the cosmos?

To which of these two classes did they assign names of this kind, and with whom did they begin? Were these in the first place names of the prasparatio elements, which they have since ascribed to mortals, making them of the same name as the heavenly bodies? Euaebius on the contrary, have they transferred the names in use among men to the natural substances? But why should they address the natural elements of the universe by names of mortal men?

And the mysteries belonging to each god, and the hymns, and songs, and the secrets of the initiatory rites,do these introduce the symbols of the universal elements, or of the mortal men of old who had the same names with the gods?

Then as to wanderings, and drunken fits, and amours, and seduction of women, praeparagio plots against men, and countless things, which are in truth shameful and unseemly practices of mortal men, how could any one refer these to the universal elements, acts which bear upon their very face mortality and human passion? Evangekica that from all these proofs this wonderful and noble physiology is convicted of having no connexion with truth, and containing nothing really divine, but possessing only a forced and counterfeit solemnity of external utterance.


Hear, however, what Porphyry records concerning these same gods in his Epistle to Anebo the Egyptian. And most of them made even our own free will depend upon the motion of the stars, binding all things down by indissoluble bonds, I know not how, to a necessity which they call fate, and making all things depend closely on these gods, whom, as the sole deliverers from the bonds of fate, they worship with temples, and statues, and the like.

Let then this quotation from the before-mentioned Epistle suffice, clearly declaring, as it does, that even the secret theology of the Egyptians made no other gods than the stars in the heaven, both those which are called fixed, and the so-called planets, and introduced no incorporeal mind as creator of the universe, nor any creative reason, nor yet praearatio god or gods, nor any intelligent and invisible powers, but only the visible Sun.

If therefore all is interpreted by the Egyptians of the visible elements of the world alone, and nothing of incorporeal and living beings, and if the elements and all visible bodies are by their own account inanimate and irrational, and in their nature fleeting and perishable,see into what difficulties their theology has fallen again, in deifying inanimate substance and dead and irrational bodies, especially since they referred nothing to incorporeal and intelligent beings, nor to a mind and reason creating the universe.

But since egangelica was acknowledged in the passages before quoted that their theological doctrines had been brought over to the Greeks from the Egyptians, it is time that the Greeks also should take their place with them, and give the same physiological explanations as the Egyptians, and be convicted of deifying nothing more than inanimate matter.

For such were the august deities of the Egyptians according to the description of the writer praepwratio mentioned, who again, in the work which he entitled On Abstinence from Animal Food, gives such details as the following concerning the same people: Wherefore they admitted every animal into their manufacture of gods, and mixed up beasts and men just alike, and also the bodies of birds and men.

Praeparatio evangelica – Wikipedia

And hereby they indicate that according praeparatlo the mind of the gods these animals also are associated one with another, and that it is not without a divine purpose rvangelica the wild beasts are bred up with us and tamed. For the power which is over preaparatio they worshipped through the associated animals which each of the gods had given them. As, therefore, we ought to abstain from eating man’s flesh, so we should abstain from the flesh of other animals.

For every beetle is male, and deposits his spawn in a marsh, and having made it into a ball carries it back with his hind feet, as the sun does the heaven, and waits a lunar period of days. SUCH are the statements set forth concerning the noble physiology of the wise Egyptians by the above-mentioned author, who has made their secrets clear to us, namely that they worship water and fire, and that the essential nature of rational and irrational animals, not in body only but also in soul, is judged among them to be one and the same, so that he thinks they eusebiuw called the beasts gods with good reason.

Ethnicity and Argument in Eusebius’ Praeparatio Evangelica

Yet must it not be most unreasonable to admit the irrational and bestial nature to deification, on the ground, as they say, of participation in the same kind of soul with men? For they ought, if so, to have regarded them also as men, and given them a share of human glory and honour. This, however, they did not; but the beasts which were created by nature itself irrational, and have received this appellation, and not even been thought worthy of the title of men, they chose to accept, on no mere equality with men; eusebiux taking the highest title of God the universal King and Creator of all things, they have degraded it to the nature of beasts, and bestowed the title of gods upon things which have not been deemed worthy fusebius God Himself even of the title of man.

In addition to this, you have heard the mystic theosophy, which led the wonderful sages of Egypt to worship wolves and dogs and lions: Laugh not then in future at their gods, but pity the thrice wretched human race for their great folly and blindness. Moreover, consider all things carefully, and see evanglica blessings God’s Christ came to bestow on us, since through His teaching in the Gospel he has redeemed even the souls of Egyptians from such a disease of lasting and long continued blindness, so that now most of the people of Egypt have been freed from this insanity.

SUCH then were the notions received among evanggelica Egyptians, which are recorded as more ancient than all the doctrines of the Greeks. Therefore, you have in addition to the mythical theology that of a more physical character common to Greeks and Egyptians, who devised of old the superstition of polytheism; and you have learnt that among them nothing at all was known of the truly divine, incorporeal, and intelligent natures.

However, let it be granted and allowed to these stargazers that they speak truth and evanfelica right in their physical explanation of the allegories; and let their sun become now Apollo, euswbius now again Horus, and the same sun again Osiris, and numberless other things, as many as they would wish; and the moon in like manner either Isis or Artemis, or as many names eusebiud any one would choose to enumerate. For grant that these are not names indicative of mortal men, but of the real celestial luminaries: In this way, therefore, the noble philosophy of the Greeks appears as it were ‘ex machina,’ on praepxratio one hand highly exalting the promise of the word, but on the other lowering the thought of the wise down to the sensible and visible workmanship of God, and euzebius, through the celestial luminaries, nothing else prqeparatio fire, and the nature of heat, and the parts of the cosmos, to which we may add the liquid and the solid elements and the composition of bodies.