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Eusebius of Caesarea: Against Hierocles - Preface to the Online Edition

The text online is the translation of F.C. Conybeare, from the Loeb edition of 1912.  It is to be found in volume 2 of Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana, as an appendix, pp.404-605.  

The novel of Philostratus came into prominence in the early years of the fourth century when Hierocles, governor of Alexandria and then Bithynia, wrote a work 'to the Christians', as if to a friend, called Philalethes (Lover of Truth - λογος φιλαληθης προς τους χριστιανους).  In this he proposed to set the semi-mythical Apollonius up as a superior rival to Christ; a tactic drearily familiar from polemic of all kinds down the years since.  Hierocles then persuaded the emperor Diocletian to order the extermination of the Christians, and himself carried out bestial cruelties against them (see Lactantius, De Mort. Pers. 16, and Eusebius, Mart. Pal. 5).

Eusebius' response discusses the novel of Philostratus in detail.  The work seems to have been written between 311-313, or even earlier.  However Eusebius nowhere refers to it in his subsequent writings.  The work is referred to by Photius in his Bibliotheca in the 9th century as codex 39.

The work is preserved the famous 'Arethas' codex, held at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, where it has the shelfmark Codex Parisinus Graecus 451 (A).  This manuscript was copied at the request of Archbishop Arethas of Caesarea in 914, and was designed as a collection of apologetic works from earliest times down to Eusebius. (See MSS of Eusebius PE for details).  It is often the only manuscript for many of the second century apologists, although it does not contain Justin, Theophilus, the letter to Diognetus or Hermias.  Also present in Codex Marcianus Graecus 343 (s.XI), a copy of the text in A. 

Roger Pearse

19th July 2002.

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This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, 19th July 2002.  All material on this page is in the public domain - copy freely.
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