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Ethnicity and Argument in Eusebius' Praeparatio Evangelica

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Overview

Eusebius' magisterial Praeparatio Evangelica (written sometime between AD 313 and 324) offers an apologetic defence of Christianity in the face of Greek accusations of irrationality and impiety. Though brimming with the quotations of other (often lost) Greek authors, the work is dominated by a clear and sustained argument. Against the tendency to see the Praeparatio as merely an anthology of other sources or a defence of monotheistic religion against paganism, Aaron P. Johnson seeks to appreciate Eusebius' contribution to the discourses of Christian identity by investigating the constructions of ethnic identity (especially Greek) at the heart of his work. Analysis of his 'ethnic argumentation' exhibits a method of defending Christianity by construing its opponents as historically rooted nations, whose place in the narrative of world history serves to undermine the legitimacy of their claims to ancient wisdom and piety.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Johnson's thesis offers fresh insights for specialists interested in both the logic and aims of the Praeparatio and the rhetorical foundations of early Christian self-definition." —Religious Studies Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199296132
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 12/7/2006
  • Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies Series
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Aaron P. Johnson is Lecturer in Classics, University of Texas at Austin.

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Table of Contents

1. Discourses of ethnicity and early Christian apologetics: an introduction
2. The language of 'ethnicity'
3. Relocating Greekness: the narrative of Greek descent
4. Rewriting Hebrew history: the descent of the ancient Hebrews
5. Greek descent revisited
6. Rome among the nations: Eusebius' Pareparatio and the unmaking of Greek political theology
7. The Church as apologetic: Eusebius' legitimation of Christianity

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