Monday, February 3, 2014

Eusebius of Caesarea: Gospel Problems and Solutions - Book Review

Roger Pearse is the editor of a translation work, Eusebius of Caesarea: Gospel Problems and Solutions, comprising letters to both Stephanus and Marinus on various subjects from the gospel texts.  Complete letters and fragments have been compiled from the Greek, along with fragments from Latin, Syriac, Coptic, and Arabic translations.  The entire book is typeset with the original language from which the accounts are taken on the left and English on the right, allowing the reader to view the original with the translation.  Readers of volumes in the Loeb Classical Library will be familiar with this format.

Although Eusebius may be more commonly known for his Ecclesiastical History, these letters are evidence of a student of scripture as he gives logical explanations for Matthew’s genealogy, among them the precedence of David, missing generations, and differences from Luke.  Along with these are apparent inconsistencies in the Gospel accounts of the resurrection: the timing, women present, Jesus’ interaction with Mary Magdalene, and so on.  Some of the explanations are familiar and can be found in any commentary, however some are unique and worthy of notation.  Bible students having a conservative view of the gospel texts will appreciate what is presented.

This work is intended to be the first in a series from Chieftain Publishing.  Origen’s homilies on Ezekiel had been in progress, but more material surfaced adding time and effort to the project.  I look forward to its arrival.

Roger Pearse has been advocating the translation of the early church materials, as well as availability of texts in the original languages, for several years.  His online presence includes The Tertullian Project, which deals primarily with the North African apologist but extends to other patristic authors as well (see here for a complete collection.)  In addition, his blog gives incites and updates to ongoing and prospective projects, as well as miscellaneous reflections.

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