Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Eusebius, EH.4.3-4: Quadratus's Apology to Hadrian

Another episode is posted to the series on Eusebius of Caesarea’s The Ecclesiastical History: book 4, chapters 3-4. Listen here.

Notes and Commentary:

These chapters mark the transition from the reign of the emperor Trajan to that of Aelius Hadrian (AD 76-138; emperor AD 117-138).

In chapter 3 mention is made of the apologist Quadratus’s defense (apologia) for the Christians presented to Hadrian. Quadratus was introduced in EH 3.37. Other tradition say he was bishop of Athens, a martyr, and among the first Christian apologists. Eusebius claims to have a copy of the apology and testifies that it gives proof of “his intellect and apostolic orthodoxy.” He cites a portion from Quadratus in which he mentions those who were cured and raised (resuscitated) from the dead by Christ and who remained alive up to his own times (cf. Matt 27:52-53?).

Mention is also made of an apology by another apologist Aristides, “a man of faith and devoted to our religion.” Other traditions say he was a philosopher of Athens.

Chapter 4 continues to chronicle the Christian leaders in Rome and Alexandria. In Rome Alexander was succeeded by Xystus, and in Alexandria, Justus succeeded Primus.


The mention of the activity of the early apologists calls attention to the fact that early Christianity was an intellectual and literary movement and that it presumed to have influence in the highest levels of Roman society (evidenced by the fact that they made direct appeals to the emperor) in the faced of persecution.


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