Thursday, July 19, 2012

Chapter Sixteen of My New Book

Gregory Thaumaturgus is likely the most important leader in the early Christian Church after St Paul.  Unlike Clement and Origen his authority went beyond the interpretation of scripture.  He is understood to have had real political power governing a significant body of people which may even have included non-Christians.  As such our Theodore of Pontus's authority may have been secular as well as religious finding a close parallel in the example of Paul of Antioch over a generation later[1]  The problem is that so very little has survived to help us get to know 'Gregory Thaumaturgus' and what remains comes from legendary and even apocryphal sources.

This situation hasn't stopped Gregory from being extremely important to the Greek speaking Church.  William Telfer wrote a 344 page book on the various cults associated with this saint across the Christian world.  It is utterly fascinating to view all the strange customs and traditions preserved down to the modern age all venerating man who is now almost completely unknown to us.  How did it get this way?  How did the circumstances surrounding Theodore's correspondences with Clement and Origen's slip into obscurity?  The answer must surely be that he and Athenodorus were the most famous example of the same sex ideal of Alexandria.

Pamphilus of Caesarea made reference to Theodore in his Apology for Origen.  However this section of the work is now lost to us and we encounter further difficulties with respect to the Apology's co-author Eusebius Pamphili.  Eusebius's History of the Church has become something of a road map for early Christianity and not surprisingly we find Theodore and his partner Athenodorus favorably - evenly glowingly - referenced throughout.   The difficulty however is that all three references to the divine couple appear in what is certainly one of the most problematic sections of the chronology as Book Six is wholly devoted to the memory of the controversial figure of Origen.

There are so many problems with this particular book in the Church History series that it led many early witnesses to question Eusebius's reliability or even his motives.  As the Byzantine chronicler George Syncellus notes "in the sixth book of his Ecclesiastical History, he [Eusebius] strives to prove that he [Origen] was greater than all the other saints and teachers. As one holding the same views that Origen did, he actually insults him with his lavish words of praise, since he knows neither whereof he speaks nor what he affirms. For he makes only the briefest remarks about the holy and blessed fathers of the time. I mean Clement. author of the Stronrata. and the holy martyr Hippolytus, and Atricanus the historian, and Dionysius the Great of and others. The conduct of only the feeble-minded Origen from his childhood up to his desertion in the face of martyrdom does he exalt to the status of divinity."[2]

The truth is that entire form of the Church History is bizarre.  As Paul Foster notes "the first seven books are indeed a history of the Church, but only as far as the late third century. At the end of Book VII, which reached its present form no earlier than 313, Eusebius explicitly discards the chronological framework of Roman emperors and bishops of Rome, Alexandria, Jerusalem and Antioch which provided a structure for his narrative."[3]  Yet even this only tells part of the story.  The actual chronological framework is developed from a Roman episcopal list which matched the names of Emperors with the line of Roman bishops.  Everything else in the chronology hangs off of that structure until 280 CE. Some have suggested that there must have been a pre-existent work which was composed in that year.  This understanding has recently been attacked by a number of scholars.  Nevertheless it is important to note that no one denies that the original chronology ends in the last generation of the third century and what follows is essentially something new.

The reason this all of this is so important for our understanding of Theodore of Pontus is because it is apparent to many that the so-called Life of Origen which takes a disproportionate amount of spare in the chapter.  George Syncellus is absolutely right here.  The details about the Life of Origen seem hastily fastened on to the framework that is developed from an earlier chronology.  Indeed it is because of this utterly strange, sloppy attempt to impose Origen on the Book VI that Theodore ends up appearing to have become a disciple of Origen twenty years late.  Theodore tells us himself that he met Origen at the time of his escape from Alexandria which is referenced in fact twice by Eusebius in the narrative.

The first reference is found in HE 6.21 we are told that "sometime after" Origen returned from Arabia to Alexandria "a considerable war broke out in the city, and he departed from Alexandria. And thinking that it would be unsafe for him to remain in Egypt, he went to Palestine and abode in Cæsarea. While there the bishops of the church in that country requested him to preach and expound the Scriptures publicly, although he had not yet been ordained as presbyter."  It is important to note that this section is immediately followed by material from the Roman bishops list:

Eusebius uses as his transition a familiar tactic - a reference to the "Church writers who flourished at that time"  After listing those from outside of Rome, he seeks to join back up with the Roman bishops list with the following segue:

Likewise also Hippolytus, who presided over another church, has left writings.  There has reached us also a dialogue of Caius, a very learned man, which was held at Rome under Zephyrinus, with Proclus, who contended for the Phrygian heresy. In this he curbs the rashness and boldness of his opponents in setting forth new Scriptures. He mentions only thirteen epistles of the holy apostle, not counting that to the Hebrews with the others. And unto our day there are some among the Romans who do not consider this a work of the apostle.

Now we have to remember that we have just left a clear reference to Origen's leaving Alexandria during Caracalla's assault on Alexandria in 215 CE.  The citation from the Roman episcopal list also references the reign of Caracalla however it marks the end of his reign:

After Antoninus had reigned seven years and six months, Macrinus succeeded him. He held the government but a year, and was succeeded by another Antoninus. During his first year the Roman bishop, Zephyrinus, having held his office for eighteen years, died, and Callistus received the episcopate.  He continued for five years, and was succeeded by Urbanus. After this, Alexander became Roman emperor, Antoninus having reigned but four years. At this time Philetus also succeeded Asclepiades in the church of Antioch.  The mother of the emperor, Mammæa by name, was a most pious woman, if there ever was one, and of religious life. When the fame of Origen had extended everywhere and had come even to her ears, she desired greatly to see the man, and above all things to make trial of his celebrated understanding of divine things.  Staying for a time in Antioch, she sent for him with a military escort. Having remained with her a while and shown her many things which were for the glory of the Lord and of the excellence of the divine teaching, he hastened back to his accustomed work. At that time Hippolytus, besides many other treatises, wrote a work on the passover. He gives in this a chronological table, and presents a certain paschal canon of sixteen years, bringing the time down to the first year of the Emperor Alexander (HE 6.21, 22).

The manner in which Hippolytus has been introduced here has puzzled scholars for ages.  The Church Father says nothing about him other than the works he wrote.  Yet we know that Hippolytus corresponded with Julia Mammaea as we have fragmentary references to those correspondences.  Did the fourth century redactor substitute the name 'Origen' for Hippolytus here?  It would seem to explain the pattern of insertion throughout the section.

As the text now stands Origen now is reputable statesman friendly with the Imperial family rather than a devious heretic hiding from the authorities.  We should then note that in chapter 22 a few sentences are developed to Ambrose the Marcionite encouraging him to write commentaries on the Bible.  Nevertheless this is again sandwiched into an ongoing appropriation from the material from the Roman episcopal list which keeps getting further and further removed from the parallel discussion of the events in the life of Origen:

While these things were in progress, Urbanus, who had been for eight years bishop of the Roman church, was succeeded by Pontianus, and Zebinus succeeded Philetus in Antioch. (HE 6:23)
Eusebius goes on to note how he was consecrated a presbyter by the bishops of Palestine and hints this caused a contemporary crisis in the Church.  Nevertheless it is interesting to note that Eusebius does everything he can to avoid talking about the controversy - which is only explained to us more fully by Jerome.

Jerome makes clear that Demetrius was furious that Origen was defying his authority.  Origen was cut off from communion with the churches of Alexandria yet if we look carefully Eusebius insinuates that Origen reconciled with Demetrius:

Nevertheless it is interesting to note that Eusebius actually returns to Origen's stay in Alexandria in the next chapter (HE 6.24) "he states that he prepared the first (of the Commentary on John) five while in Alexandria ... [i]n the ninth of those on Genesis, of which there are twelve in all, he states that not only the preceding eight had been composed at Alexandria, but also those on the first twenty-five Psalms and on Lamentations. Of these last five volumes have reached us. In them he mentions also his books On the Resurrection, of which there are two. He wrote also the books De Principiis before leaving Alexandria; and the discourses entitled Stromata, ten in number, he composed in the same city during the reign of Alexander, as the notes by his own hand preceding the volumes indicate." 
Yet the idea that Origen went back to Alexandria after escaping in 215 is never actually acknowledged in Book Six.  It is just this weak claim that a handwritten note in a book 'in Origen's own hand' yet anyone could have scribbled something in the book.  The Church of Caesarea had too of the most active apologists for Origen in the age.

The truth is that there is no evidence that Origen ever returned to Alexandria and it seems absolutely preposterous given his excommunication.  So it is that Eusebius continues to describe the works that Origen wrote in Alexandria in HE 6:25 and then reintroducing the statement in HE 6:21 about Origen's departure to Caesarea:

It was in the tenth year of the above-mentioned reign that Origen removed from Alexandria to Cæsarea, leaving the charge of the catechetical school in that city to Heraclas. Not long afterward Demetrius, bishop of the church of Alexandria, died, having held the office for forty-three full years, and Heraclas succeeded him. At this time Firmilianus, bishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia, was conspicuous.(HE 6:26)

Most read this as a reference to Origen again leaving Alexandria a second time in 232 CE  - this even though Eusebius never explicitly acknowledges that this is a second flight from Egypt.  Indeed there are other problems here too.  The numbers don't add up for Demetrius's reign from earlier in the book where it is that "it was the tenth year of the reign of Severus (= 203 CE), while Lætus was governor of Alexandria and the rest of Egypt, and Demetrius had lately received the episcopate of the parishes there, as successor of Julian."   (HE 6.2)

What this finally betrays is that Book VI grew from being originally a simply chronological narrative about the Church in the early third century to a full blown apology for Origen.  Georgy Syncellus is again certainly right.  The original Origen section likely took up only part of the book originally.  However over time the biography was super imposed over the entire work leading to or deliberately encouraged so as to answer objections to Origen's orthodoxy.  Eusebius certainly used an original Life of Origen which as we have noted was told of only one departure from Alexandria in 215 CE.  Yet Eusebius deliberately tries to obscure the details in order to answer the charges that Origen was excommunicated by Demetrius and thus a heretic.

Eusebius continues with the account of Firmilianus in HE 6:27 nothing that "he was so earnestly affected toward Origen, that he urged him to come to that country for the benefit of the churches, and moreover he visited him in Judea, remaining with him for some time, for the sake of improvement in divine things. And Alexander, bishop of Jerusalem, and Theoctistus, bishop of Cæsarea, attended on him constantly, as their only teacher, and allowed him to expound the Divine Scriptures, and to perform the other duties pertaining to ecclesiastical discourse."  In the original narrative Firmilianus coming to Caesarea was contemporary with Theodore and Athenodorus in 215 CE.  Yet Eusebius again goes out of his way to mismatch the the events in the life of Origen with the Roman episcopal list which served as the timeline for the Church History.

We should also notice at once that the reference to Maximinus taking over the throne from Alexander Severus in HE 6:28 has no corresponding reference to a Roman bishop as is usually the case in the Church History.  This is because Pontianus is already mention back in HE 6:22 and Eusebius is breaking up the continuous narrative of that document and deliberately assigning dates to the life of Origen which were supposed to help rehabilitate his career.  The statement that Maximinus "on account of his hatred toward the household of Alexander, which contained many believers, began a persecution, commanding that only the rulers of the churches should be put to death, as responsible for the Gospel teaching" originally  followed that reference in 6:23 to "Urbanus, who had been for eight years bishop of the Roman church, was succeeded by Pontianus" in the Roman episcopal list.

In other words it was the Roman episcopal list which mentioned the persecution as originally pertaining tot he Church at Rome.  This is the second time that Eusebius has altered or adapted contents from that text to augment the life of Origen.  Here with respect to the reign of Maximinus it is said that Origen wrote On Martyrdom in this age because of the fear of persecution of the new regime.  This is certainly not likely to have been true.  It is also worth noting that we rejoin our bishops list in the next chapter where we continue with the side by side referencing of bishops and Emperors:

Gordianus succeeded Maximinus as Roman emperor; and Pontianus, who had been bishop of the church at Rome for six years, was succeeded by Anteros. After he had held the office for a month, Fabianus succeeded him.  They say that Fabianus having come, after the death of Anteros, with others from the country, was staying at Rome, and that while there he was chosen to the office through a most wonderful manifestation of divine and heavenly grace. For when all the brethren had assembled to select by vote him who should succeed to the episcopate of the church, several renowned and honorable men were in the minds of many, but Fabianus, although present, was in the mind of none. But they relate that suddenly a dove flying down lighted on his head, resembling the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Saviour in the form of a dove.  Thereupon all the people, as if moved by one Divine Spirit, with all eagerness and unanimity cried out that he was worthy, and without delay they took him and placed him upon the episcopal seat.

It is worth noting here that the gap between where we are in the actual life of Origen (= 215 CE) and where we are in the Roman episcopal list (= c. 240 CE) has grown to ridiculous proportions.  There can be no doubt that Eusebius has tried to push back Origen's departure from Alexandria until after it can be inferred that he reconciled at the last possible moment with Demetrius.[4]

It is worth noting that Alexandrian sources working from separate records put the date of Demetrius's reign not at forty three years but thirty three.[5]  The correctness of this dating is undoubtedly why the early reference in Book Six to Demetrius receiving the bishop's chair 'shortly before' the tenth year of Severus (203 CE) was added.  Demetrius actually died or lost control of the see in 222 CE not 232 CE.  This is inferred also from the original statement in HE that "was in the tenth year of the above-mentioned reign (= 215 CE) that Origen removed from Alexandria to Cæsarea, leaving the charge of the catechetical school in that city to Heraclas. Not long afterward Demetrius, bishop of the church of Alexandria, died, having held the office for forty-three full years, and Heraclas succeeded him."

The confusion over the beginning of Caracalla's reign is evident from the Chronicle which was used to compile the Church History.  Caracalla's rise to Caesar actually corresponds to Albinus's revolt against Severus in 196 CE.  Yet the Chronicle dates this event to the ten years later as we see from the entry for 205 CE - "After Clodius Albinus, who had made himself Caesar in Gaul, had been killed at Lyons."  The miscalculation of the tenth year of Caracalla is derived from this. It has also been noted by scholars that there is a missing year in Eusebius's account of Caracalla.[6]

As we start to put the original dating back together again from Eusebius's obvious effort to disguise Origen's excommunication, we end up face to face with the first introduction of Theodore and Athenodorus in the Church History.  We read now in HE 6.29:

While Origen was carrying on his customary duties in Cæsarea, many pupils came to him not only from the vicinity, but also from other countries. Among these Theodorus, the same that was distinguished among the bishops of our day under the name of Gregory, and his brother Athenodorus, we know to have been especially celebrated. Finding them deeply interested in Greek and Roman learning, he infused into them a love of philosophy, and led them to exchange their old zeal for the study of divinity. Remaining with him five years, they made such progress in divine things, that although they were still young, both of them were honored with a bishopric in the churches of Pontus.

As we have already noted according to the manner in which the Church History is currently arranged it would make it appear that this meeting happened after 240 CE.  Nevertheless this is only reflective of Eusebius's deliberate tampering efforts.  It will be very easy to add important proofs that the original date here of Theodore and Athenodorus coming to Caesarea was really 215 CE.

The first and most obvious argument is that the account of Theodore and Athenodorus here is immediately followed by an incredibly late reference to Julius Africanus, the great chronographer.  Eusebius's placing Julius Africanus this late in the narrative seems to have bothered at least a few Byzantine scholars.  After all it doesn't make sense that given Eusebius frequent use of Africanus's "five books on Chronology" or the "Chronography" which was almost certainly written 221 CE that Africanus himself would be sandwiched between the description of events during the reign of Maximinus Thrax (235 - 238 CE) and Philip the Arab (244 - 249 CE).[7]  The answer again is that everything in the original Life of Origen has been pushed back a number of years and since Theodore and Africanus are always spoken of as contemporaries Africanus is moved with Theodore to a period thirty years after their correct dating.[8]

Indeed there is strong evidence to suggest that Africanus originally appeared in the year corresponding to 221 CE in Eusebius's original Chronicle was used to compile the Church History.  While that text is completely lost, the Chronicle of Jerome is largely based on that original, and has the following for 221 CE - "In Palestine Nicopolis, which previously used to be called Emmaus, was founded as a city, the labour of the embassy on its behalf being undertaken by Julius Africanus, the writer of the Chronicle."  This is exactly where the reference to Africanus should be in Eusebius's Church History but it is not for the reasons just illustrated.

It is worth noting that all subsequent chronographers place Theodore and Africanus as contemporaries.  In Jerome Letter 70 the two are separated from a list of later authorities as living at the same time and having the same basic character - "there are also in circulation the books of Julius Africanus, who wrote historical works on chronology, and of Theodore, who was subsequently called Gregory, men endowed with the miracles and virtues of the apostles. All of them interweave the teachings and sayings of the philosophers to such such an extent in their books that you might be at a loss as to which to admire in them first, their secular learning or their knowledge of the Scriptures."[9]   Jerome here remembers both men to have apostolic character because of their working of wonders.  Yet a number of witnesses to the original chronicle of Africanus adds another name to the list of contemporaries - Clement of Alexandria.

The ninth century Byzantine scholar George Monachus determined in part from Africanus' Chronology that at  "living during his  rule were Clement, author of the Stromata, and Africanus and Gregory Thaumaturgus."[10]  Of course the Emperor mentioned is Decius, yet the problem must again be Eusebius's delay of mention of Africanus to just before Philip the Arab (244 - 249) and perhaps his mention of a five year apprenticeship for Theodore.  Clement is generally thought to have lived until 225 CE and that Origen became his student while Clement was still in Alexandria.  Africanus, a contemporary of both men, explicitly placed this instruction in the reign of Commodus -"Commodus, son of Marcus, reigned for 12 years, 5 months - As the most learned Africanus says: During his reign, Clement, author of the Stromata, was becoming known in Alexandria. Origen became a pupil of Clement. Montanus, the heresiarch, was also living at that time. He claimed that he himself was [the] Paraclete."[11]

Francis Thee in his Julius Africanus and the Christian View of Magic notes that "in his account of the reign of Commodus, Cedrenus cites 'Africanus the Chronographer' as placing 'Clement the Stromatist' in this time, with the following clause making Origen a pupil of Clement. The next paragraph, describing the reign of Pertinax, cites Eusebius as placing the floruits of Symmachus, Porphyry, and Africanus, and the martyrdom of Leonidas, father of Origen, in this reign."  Of course all of this goes against what appears in the beginning of Book Six of the Church History.  Yet it has been established long before us by scholars that Eusebius's history cannot be trusted with respect to the life of Origen.

Yet another way we can confirm Origen's one and only flight from Alexandria as occurred in 215 CE is an important reference which was recently discovered in the Greek text of the Homilies on Psalms.  Origen certainly makes reference to this date after a reference to Isaiah 40:6 in the Homily on Psalm 36.  Origen is clearly using this prophesy to emphasize the passing of political rulers since he first set foot at Caesarea Maritima.  We read:

Looks at the glory of the flesh: they have ruled over us for these thirty years.  They have been glorified: their glory is like a flower; but this glory was dried up and withered.  Some others were wealthy, and came upon honors.  The walked as ones puffed up because of the honor of the things which promoted them. These things passed away, and so as a flower of wheat they will wither way, for "all flesh is wheat, and all of its glory is as a flower of wheat."  The wheat is dried up and the flower has fallen.

Eusebius importantly tells us that Origen only allowed stenographers to record his Homilies after he had turned sixty years of age (HE 6:36).  Given Africanus's clear dating of Origen's instruction by Clement to 192 CE at the very latest the latest that Origen could have been born is 180 CE.  Origen died shortly after the reign of Decius 251 CE.

When Origen says to his hearers that the Emperors have ruled over 'us' for thirty years, he is speaking of the church in Caesarea in 245 - 249 CE. The beginning of the thirty year period is clearly the original departure date from Alexandria of 215 CE.  Given now that Origen clearly testifies to 215 CE as the start of his residence in Caesarea Theodore and Athenodorus can only have begun instruction in the very same year.  Of course Nautin came to a similar dating for the same homily - albeit slightly earlier - based on a set of assumptions developed from what is now demonstrated to be a faulty translation of the material into Latin.  The Latin version makes it seem as if the 'thirty years' has something to do with a succession of Emperors which the Greek makes clear was not the case originally[12]

There is one more argument that can be raised in favor of a 215 CE dating for Theodore's arrival in Caesarea.  It is worth noting the reference in the Church History to Firmilian's arrival in Caesarea to meet Origen- "it was in the tenth year of [Carcalla] that Origen removed from Alexandria to Cæsarea ... At this time Firmilianus, bishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia, was conspicuous.  He was so earnestly affected toward Origen, that he urged him to come to that country for the benefit of the churches, and moreover he visited him in Judea, remaining with him for some time, for the sake of improvement in divine things."(HE 6.26)  It cannot go without notice that when Gregory of Nyssa tells the story of Theodore's instruction into Christianity, it takes place alongside this same Firmilian.

We read in the relevant section of the Life of Gregory - "after he had passed through the whole education of worldly wisdom, he met a certain Firmilian, from a prominent Cappadocian family, a man of similar moral principles, as he showed by his subsequent life, since he became an ornament of the church of Caesarea, and he manifested to his friend what he wanted to do with his life: to focus on God.  When he learned that his friend was preoccupied with the same strong desire, he forsook all concern with worldly philosophy and went .with him to the one who at that time was giving instruction in the philosophy of the Christians  (this was Origen, often mentioned in books)."  It would have been impossible for Gregory of Nyssa to have constructed this narrative in this way unless he had received a tradition that Theodore was present in Caesarea c. 215 CE.

To this end we conclude this chapter with the knowledge that, in spite of a systematic effort of Eusebius to defend Origen from the charge of being a heretic, not only did Theodore and Athenodorus come to Caesarea in the first year of Origen's presence in Caesarea, he was also a contemporary of Clement of Alexandria.  All of which will help us understand the circumstances of their correspondence in the chapter that follows.


[3] It is the longest preserved list of Olympic victors, containing however mainly the stadion (running race) winners from 776 BC to 217 CE.
[4] Eusebius admits to having a copy of the chronicle in a later work.   and it is highly likely that he had it at his disposal already when he was writing the chronicle.
[5] Eusebius writes: While Origen was carrying on his customary duties in Cæsarea, many pupils came to him not only from the vicinity, but also from other countries. Among these Theodorus, the same that was distinguished among the bishops of our day under the name of Gregory, and his brother Athenodorus, we know to have been especially celebrated. Finding them deeply interested in Greek and Roman learning, he infused into them a love of philosophy, and led them to exchange their old zeal for the study of divinity. Remaining with him five years, they made such progress in divine things, that although they were still young, both of them were honored with a bishopric in the churches of Pontus.(6.31)  As noted above, the account of Africanus immediately follows: At this time also [emphasis mine] Africanus, the writer of the books entitled Cesti, was well known. There is extant an epistle of his to Origen, expressing doubts of the story of Susannah in Daniel, as being spurious and fictitious. Origen answered this very fully. Other works of the same Africanus which have reached us are his five books on Chronology, a work accurately and laboriously prepared. He says in this that he went to Alexandria on account of the great fame of Heraclas, who excelled especially in philosophic studies and other Greek learning, and whose appointment to the bishopric of the church there we have already mentioned. (6.32) Clearly Gregory and Athendorus seated as bishops in Pontus and Africanus being renowned are related.  Yet there is something unmistakably strange about the placement of Africanus in this late period.
[7] The Chronology itself was actually written, as Markschies notes, either in the reign of Caracalla (211 - 218 CE) or Elagabalus (218 - 222 CE).  The eighth century Byzantine chronicler Georgius Syncellus certainly had the original text before him when he makes reference to the original shepherd's tent of Jacob preserved in Edessa being "destroyed by a thunderbolt around the time of Antoninus the emperor of the Romans, as Africanus states, who has written his history up to the time of this Antoninus."  The most serious impediment is the unfortunate transmission of Eusebius' text itself and the lack of a satisfactory modern edition. The literary character of the 'Chronological Canons' was probably quite similar to Aficanus own work.  A prose text with many inserted tables, it contained various historical themes which were collated and placed into direct relationship with one another by means of theoretical discussions and synchronisms. This part of Eusebius' work is only preserved in its entirety in an early Armenian translation and in a number of Greek fragments. The latter part/volume constitutes Eusebius' main innovation: a juxtaposition of the whole history of of mankind from Abraham to the present day in a large table, containing several columns for the various historical themes.  A second obstacle in evaluating the material in Eusebius' chronicle is the heterogeneous way in which he exploits Africanus's work. In some cases, he quotes him directly, mostly in order to criticize him. In a few cases, the critique is not explicit in that he quotes in an affirmative way, but then goes on to add implicit corrections, which has a habit of rendering his quotes rather misleading to say the least. But by far the biggest and most difficult group of citations are those in which Eusebius simply cites the historical material.  his predecessor without questioning him or even mentioning his name. Such cases are difficult to identify.  Parallels drawn between the material of Syncellus, which are attributable to Africanus and passages in Eusebius' chronicle are in some cases conclusive.
[8] Eusebius described this earlier chronicle as "a work accurately and laboriously prepared."  Indeed Eusebius almost certainly knew Africanus right at the beginning of his scholarly career.  Most scholars assume that it was Africanus' Chronography which prompted Eusebius to attempt a similar monumental historical work.  Eusebius copied Africanus's basic chronological structure, attempting to bind together the various historiographical traditions of the Hellenistic and Semitic world and place them in a Christian perspective.
[10] [Symeon Logothetes (Leo Grammaticus [76,14 - 77,1 Bekker] = Theodosius Melitenus [56,25 - 57,2 Tafel]) ~ Georgius Monachus continuatus (360,4-6 Murait = PG ПО, 552C)]
[11]  [ Symeon Logothetes (cod. Vat. gr. 163, f. 20r = Leo Grammaticus [71,2-11 Bekker] = Theodosius Melitenus [54,6-14 Tafel]) et ps. Symeon f. 79v-80r = Georgius Cedrenus (441,3-12 Bekker)]
[12] I should thank Alex Poulos for his translation of the Greek material.  This is justified by taking a close look at perhaps the most important historical references in the writings of Origen - a statement likely made in 235 CE:  Behold who ruled thirty years ago, how his rule flourished, but suddenly “like the flower of the grass” he withered away; then another after and another, who next became rulers and princes and “all their glory” and honor withered away, not only “as the flower,” but also as dry dust and was scattered by the wind. Not even a vestige remained of it. (HomPs 36 1.2) hese words appear in Origen's Homily on the 36th Psalm. Origen refers to a ruler whose rule flourished 30 years ago and then withered “like the flower of the grass”, to be followed “by another,” all of whom had their glory that also withered and was scattered like dust, so that no vestige remains of it. Nautin has suggested that the man to whom Origen refers who ruled thirty years ago was Septimius Severus. Origen refers to four rulers in the paragraph, all of whom had their moments of glory, he says, and then faded. I think he is referring to the four Severan rulers: Septimius, Caracalla, Elagabalus, and Alexander, skipping over the usurper Macrinus who ruled only one year after he had murdered Caracalla. Septimius Severus died in February 211. The latest date for Origen’s sermon, then, if he was using Septimius’ death as his point of reference, would be 241.  Nautin then proposes that Origen's homilies were delivered at Caesarea in one of the following three year periods:  238-41, 239-42, 240-43, or 241-44 with the Homily on Psalms beginning the liturgical cycle.  Yet if you simply look at the information in the passage it seems rather clear that the most likely time for the composition of these words is the reign of Maximinus Thrax (235 - 238 CE).  After all the end of the Severan dynasty would have been most topical then.  The reason is so reluctant to accept this date is that he doesn't know what to do with Eusebius's statement that Origen was over sixty when he first allowed these homilies to be recorded.  This contradicts the traditional assumption that Origen was eighteen or so at his father's death in 202 CE.  There were no known persecutions during this period in history.  Yet it is worth noting that the Second Book of Clement's Stromata generally thought to have been written in 193 CE makes specific references to contemporary persecutions in Alexandria. Eusebius's entire understanding of the life of Origen is faulty.  Once we see that Eusebius moved the account of Julius Africanus from Caracalla in his Chronicle to the period between Gordian and Philip the Arab, the idea that the related story - "at this time also' - of Gregory and Athenodorus must also have taken place 215 CE.  After all Gregory's original panergyric for Origen makes specific reference to him going to Caesarea as Origen first arrived there.  There is absolutely nothing in Eusebius's narrative which suggest that Origen was continually residing in Caesarea since his escape from Alexandria in 215 CE.

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Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
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