Eusebius of Caesarea: Tradition and Innovations

  Johnson, Aaron, and Jeremy Schott, eds. 2013. Eusebius of Caesarea: Tradition and Innovations. Hellenic Studies Series 60. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies.

8. Eusebius’ Commentary on the Psalms and Its Place in the Origins of Christian Biblical Scholarship

Michael J. Hollerich

Eusebius’ Commentary on the Psalms (hereafter CPs) is probably the longest book he ever wrote. It came late in his career, at a time when the Church was basking in the emperor’s favor and when the party of those with misgivings about the Council of Nicaea felt that politico-dogmatic momentum had swung in their favor, with the rehabilitation of Arius and the ascendancy of Eusebius of Nicomedia at court. It is one of only two line-by-line biblical commentaries that he appears to have written. It is the first Christian commentary on the entire Psalter. And it shows Eusebius both in the full possession of the skills he had acquired during his tutelage under Pamphilus and refined in his many books, and also exploiting the resources in the library at Caesarea, the richness of which recent scholarship has given us fresh appreciation. [1]

All of this being so, one may ask why the CPs has drawn relatively little scholarly attention. Reasons are not hard to find. A major problem is the condition of the text. Like so much of the patristic exegetical legacy, the CPs has survived exclusively in the tangle of anthologies known as the catenae. The authentication problems are well known. Existing manuscripts may represent multiple stages of revision and editing, during which selections may be shortened, paraphrased, or combined with selections from other authors, and the authorship confused (just such a confusion has given us Eusebius’ commentary on Psalm 37, preserved in the works of Basil of Caesarea [2] ) or simply dropped altogether. The labors of several generations of scholars, mainly French, have shed much light on the landscape. We now have a new survey of the state of research on the catenae available in English, thanks to the publication (in 2006) of the last volume of the Patrology completed by Angelo Di Berardino and his team of scholars. That volume contains a fifty-page survey of research on the Greek exegetical catenae. We are doubly fortunate that the lead scholar on that chapter was the late Carmelo Curti (d. 2003), who contributed a discussion of the basic literary problems posed by the catenae and a special section on the catenae based on the Psalter. Curti devoted a good portion of his life’s work to Eusebius’ Psalms commentary. His goal, announced years ago but never completed, was a new edition. Failing that, we at least have his republished papers and his survey of the manuscript remains in the Patrology volume. [3]

The Date of the Commentary

Purpose and Occasion for Writing

It also reflected his long preoccupation with Porphyry. One element of Porphyry’s attack on the Christian scriptures seems to have consisted of denying that the psalms qualified as authentic prophecy. Porphyry apparently conceded that Hebrew prophecy could in principle be genuine, so long as the gift of prophecy was not thought of as the exclusive property of the Jews. In his Demonstration of the Gospel, Eusebius quotes an unnamed pagan, who is usually understood to be Porphyry, as saying: “. . . for the God of the universe . . . is God not only of the Jews but of all the rest of the human race as well. He does not care for some more than others, but his providence watches over all equally” (DE 5.Proem.3–5, ed. Heikel; my trans.). Elsewhere in the Demonstration, Eusebius defends the Psalter against unnamed critics:

This statement comes from Eusebius’ preface to his exposition of Ps 40, one of the psalms of Asaph, who is credited with divine inspiration according to 1 Chronicles 16:4. To Asaph scripture also attributed Ps 73, which Eusebius construed as prophesying the destruction of both the first and the second temples (DE 10.1.6–10), and Ps 78, which he thought predicted the temple desecration and the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes (DE 10.1.10–12). In the same way, Eusebius proceeds to read Ps 40 as a highly specific prophecy of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus (DE 10.1.13–40). The whole Psalter becomes an interconnected skein of biblical prophecy fulfilled historically in both the Old and the New Testaments—and thus cements Christian claims to both. [

Content and Character

The general character of the Psalms commentary resembles that of the Isaiah commentary: its laborious textual exposition based on the resources of the Hexapla; its theology, though with a more candid subordinationism; its anti-Judaic apologetic theses, the rejection of Israel and the calling of the Gentiles; and its constant attention to prophetic fulfillment, both in the history of Israel and the history of the Church, which to Eusebius is really the same history. Of the type of spiritual exegesis that Origen pioneered and that came to dominate patristic commentary on the Psalter, there is proportionately less. Spiritual exegesis was not, however, necessary in Eusebius’ mind to justify his steady attention to the Church, “the godly polity” (to theosebes politeuma), which he regarded as the literal fulfillment (kata lexin) of biblical prophecy, just as he did in the Isaiah commentary. Finally, the CPs devotes a great deal of space to distinctively literary questions involving the authorship, the genre, and the ordering of the psalms; perhaps Eusebius worried that these were areas that were particularly vulnerable to intelligent pagan criticism.

Of the theological content of the commentary, I will mention only the occasional Christological expositions that speak of the divine and the human in the Incarnation as such distinct entities as to appear Antiochene, if the anachronistic category may be permitted, e.g. the comment on Ps 88:6, in which Eusebius speaks rather casually of “the Son of God who dwells in him [= the Son of David]” (PG 23.1084c). Compare the similar language with which Eusebius comments on Ps 87:5: “For just as Zion, being the city of God, is the locality of the man who will be born in her, so too is the man himself a locality and receptacle (dokheion) of the divine Word who is begotten in him, as in a holy place and temple, or rather, as in a statue (agalma) and receptacle of his divinity that dwells in him” (PG 23.1049a).

Of the apologetic topoi, the calling of the Gentiles is fitted in wherever Eusebius thinks he can find a sufficiently universalizing or “open” passage in a given psalm. Of anti-Judaism there is all too much, though not in a measure that distinguishes the CPs from any of Eusebius’ earlier works. The staple elements are all there: their rejection of Christ led to their destruction, and their “fleshly” interpretation of the Scriptures had led them into error and ignorance. More than once he refers to the Roman expulsion of Jews from Jerusalem after the revolt of 132–135 (at PG 23.541c, on Ps 58:7; also PG 23.753c, on Ps 68).

In the passages that refer to the godly polity, a common theme is the various orders (tagmata) that constitute it. The community is hierarchical, being governed by the successors of the apostles, among whom Peter was the koruphaios (PG 23.449c). But bishops per se aren’t all that prominent. The true elite are the spiritual virtuosos, the ascetics. And when the Church’s “archons and hegemons” are referred to, it is more in terms of spiritual advancement than of ordination to clerical office. [26] The first tagma, he says in one place, are the monks (he actually calls them monakhoi, adopting the word from Symmachus’s version of Ps 67:7a). Eusebius cites four different versions, beginning with the LXX, which reads: ho theos katoikizei monotropous en oikôi (“God makes the single-minded to dwell in a house”). Symmachus has didôsin oikizein monakhois oikian; Aquila, kathizei monogeneis oikonde; and “the fifth edition,” katoikizei monozônous en oikôi. The passage is worth quoting:

Among other passages on the godly polity, I point in passing to one on Ps 52, dealing with the existence of two tagmata already in Israel (PG 23.449c), and another on Ps 86:3, “Glorious things have been said of you, O City of God,” which Eusebius says refers to to theosebes politeuma, the Church spread throughout the world and the eikôn of “the great politeuma of the heavenly Zion” (PG 23.1045a). This of course is the great psalm text that gave Augustine the title for On the City of God. Eusebius is equally fond of it; note how he cites Ps 86:3 when commenting on Ps 71:16–17 (PG 23.816d) and on Ps 59:11 (PG 23.572b–c)—where he follows immediately with a reference to Mt 16:18!

Two questions to ask about his use of the Hexapla:

  1. What is the interpretive status of the Greek versions in relation to the LXX?
  2. And what use, if any, was Eusebius making of the Hebrew?

I will deal with the second question first. His synopsis must have had a Hebrew column in Hebrew script, not merely a Hebrew text in Greek transliteration, because he frequently alludes to the “Hebrew writing” (graphê, PG 23.809c), the “Hebrew reading” (lexis), or “Hebrew letters” (stoicheia). Most often his gestures towards the Hebrew serve to verify that instances of sôtêrion in the LXX are based on some form of the Hebrew name for Jesus (although he is also interested in the Hebrew names for God as well). [31] He notes that the Hebrew original of Ps 52:2 (= Ps 53:2 MT) is verbally identical with the Hebrew of Ps 13:1 (= Ps 14:1b–c MT) because “the same words and the same letters are contained in both” (PG 23.456b). That tells us he is doing a painstaking check, letter by letter, of the Hebrew column of the Hexapla. Did Origen’s commentary tell him this or did he discover it himself? Even if it is not his own discovery, the care to specify the Hebrew reading—in a passage in which Eusebius did not have an apologetic investment—is suggestive. We can attribute it partly, I propose, to scholarly precision. [32] But it also reflected the motive behind the very existence of the Hexapla: to gain access to the Hebrew original as a necessary instrument for correcting the Church’s own scriptures. That at least is what Origen gives as the purpose of the Hexapla in a celebrated passage in his Commentary on Matthew. [33] The project was controversial, which perhaps explains the rather different and somewhat defensive motive he expounds in his Letter to Africanus, where he says that his retention of the Hebrew text, even when it contained material missing from the Church’s bible, was necessary for the sake of discussions with the Jews—it did not mean the devaluing of the Church’s scriptures. [34]

In other places Eusebius is more candid about the redaction of the psalms. To be sure, he believes that the process as a whole was inspired. Recognizing that the psalms originated in the prayers of Israel, he says “. . . the things that were uttered were rightly no longer regarded as ordinary prayers but as prophetic words, and the ones who had received the charisma of the discernment of spirits inserted them into the divine books” (PG 23.580c). But he knows that many hands must have been involved in that discernment and perhaps more than a little contingency. In two separate passages, he proposes scenarios for explaining how the Psalter may have assumed its present shape. [44] The basic hypothesis is that the psalms were composed by numerous authors over a long period of time, and then assembled gradually by an editor or editors as the individual psalms came to their attention. Eusebius says he isn’t sure whether that person was actually Ezra, as “the children of the Hebrews” allege. In this way, e.g. of the twelve psalms eventually attributed to “the sons of Kore,” eight were found and numbered 41 through 48; then later, two more (83 and 84), after which one of David’s was placed (85); and then the last two of the sons of Kore (86–87). [45] Eusebius compares the process to what he thinks may also have happened to the books of Jeremiah and of Ezekiel. There too, he says, the order of events and of prophecies is sometimes reversed, with prophecies from later times being found in earlier parts of the books. In both cases, the “probable” (eikos) explanation is that the unhistorical sequencing of the books is due to the fact that those who preserved the prophecies added them to the book as they incidentally came to their attention, following disruptions like the Babylonian Exile. The same explanation applies to the Psalter—unless, he adds, someone wishes to propose a deeper meaning (bathuteros nous) that has escaped him (PG 23.1041d). He flatly denies that the psalm numbers themselves could carry inherent significance, as if “. . . the fiftieth in number contains the understanding of the forgiveness of sins because of the fifty year period referred to in the Law, the period which the children of the Hebrews call a ‘jubilee’ . . .” [46] As Eusebius well knew, the author of that symbolic interpretation was none other than Origen. [47]

Works Cited

Attridge, H.A. and Fassler, M.E., eds. 2003. Psalms in Community: Jewish and Christian Textual, Liturgical, and Artistic Traditions. Atlanta.

Barnes, T.D. 1981. Constantine and Eusebius. Cambridge, MA.

Berardino, A. di, ed. 2006. Patrology: The Eastern Fathers from the Council of Chalcedon (451) to John of Damascus (d. 750). Trans. Adrian Walford. Cambridge.

Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of the Sciences. 2012. “Alexandrian and Antiochene Biblical Exegesis in Late Antiquity.” Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Accessed May 15, 2012.

Blowers, P.M. et al., eds. 2002. In Dominico Eloquio, In Lordly Eloquence: Essays on Patristic Exegesis in Honor of Robert Wilken. Grand Rapids, MI.

Cadiou, R. 1936. La jeunesse d’Origène. Paris.

Cameron, A., and Hall, S. G., eds. 1999. Eusebius: Life of Constantine. Oxford.

Carleton Paget, J. and J. Schaper, eds. Forthcoming. The New Cambridge History of the Bible. Cambridge.

Carriker, A. J. 2003. The Library of Eusebius of Caesarea. Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 67. Leiden.

Curti, C. 1989a. Eusebiana I: commentarii in Psalmos. Saggi e testi classici, cristiani e medievali 1. Catania, Sicily.

———. 1989b. “L’esegesi di Eusebio di Cesare: caraterri i sviluppo.” In Curti 1989a:195–213.

———. 1989c. “Per una nuova edizione dei ‘Commentarii in Psalmos’ di Eusebio di Cesarea (MS. Coislin 44).” In Curti 1989a:3–17.

——— 2006. “Greek Catenae on the Psalms.” In Berardino 2006:618–626.

Daley, B. E. 2003. “Finding the Right Key: The Aims and Strategies of Early Christian Interpretation of the Psalms.” In Attridge and Fassler 2003:113–123.

Fernández Marcos, N. 2000. The Septuagint in Context: Introduction to the Greek Versions of the Bible. Leiden.

Grafton, A. and Williams, M. 2006. Christianity and the Transformation of the Book: Origen, Eusebius, and the Library of Caesarea. Cambridge, MA.

Harl, M., ed. 1972. La chaîne palestinienne sur le Psaume 118. Sources chrétiennes 189. Paris.

———., ed. 1983. Sur les Écritures: Philocalie 1–20/Origène. Sources chrétiennes 302. Paris.

Harnack, A. 1904. Die Chronologie der altchristlichen Literatur bis Eusebius. 2 vols. Leipzig.

Hollerich, M. J. 1989. “Myth and History in Eusebius’ De vita Constantini: Vita Const. 1.12 in its Contemporary Setting.” Harvard Theological Review 82:421–445.

———. 1999. Eusebius of Caesarea’s Commentary on Isaiah: Christian Exegesis in the Age of Constantine. Oxford Early Christian Studies. Oxford.

———. 2002. “Hebrews, Jews, and Christians: Eusebius of Caesarea on the Biblical Basis of the Two States of the Christian Life.” In Blowers 2002:172–184.

Johnson, A. 2006. “The Blackness of Ethiopians: Classical Ethnography and Eusebius’ Commentary on the Psalms.” Harvard Theological Review 99:165–186.

Kannengiesser, C., ed. 2004. Handbook of Patristic Exegesis: The Bible in Ancient Christianity. Leiden.

Lange, N. de, ed. 1983. Sur les Écritures: La lettre à Africanus sur l’histoire de Suzanne. Sources chrétiennes 302. Paris.

Mercati, G. 1948. Osservazioni a proemi del Salterio di Origene, Ippolito, Eusebio, Cirillo Alessandrino e altri, con frammenti inediti. Studi e Testi 142. Vatican City.

Moreau, J. 1966. “Eusebius von Caesarea.” Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum 6:col. 1064.

Nautin, P. 1977. Origène: sa vie et son oeuvre. Christianisme antique 1. Paris.

Rajak, T. 2009. Translation and Survival: The Greek Bible of the Ancient Jewish Diaspora. Oxford.

Rondeau, M.-J. and Kirchmeyer, J. 1967. “Eusèbe de Césarée.” In Dictionnaire de Spiritualité 4, 2:1688–1691.

Rondeau, M.-J. 1982, 1985. Les commentaires patristiques du Psautier (IIIe–Ve siècles) I, II. Orientalia Christiana Analecta 219–220. Rome.

Schoene, A., ed. 1967. Eusebii Chronicon. 2 vols. Zurich.

Veltri, G. 2006. Libraries, Translations, and ‘Canonic’ Texts: The Septuagint, Aquila, and Ben Sira in the Jewish and Christian Traditions. Leiden.

Wallace-Hadrill, D. S. 1960. Eusebius of Caesarea. London.

Wallraff, M. 2011. “The Canon Tables of the Psalms. An Unknown Work of Eusebius of Caesarea.” Oxford Patristics: The Conference Blog, July 13, 2011.

Wasserstein, A., and Wasserstein, D. 2006. The Legend of the Septuagint: From Classical Antiquity to Today. Cambridge.


[ back ] 1. Grafton and Williams 2006; Carriker 2003.

[ back ] 2. PG 30.81–104; cf. CPG 3467 (1).

[ back ] 3. Curti 1989a; idem 2006. A team of German scholars at the academic initiative “Die alexandrinische und antiochenische Bibelexegese in der Spätantike” (under the aegis of the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften) has begun a ten-year project to produce a critical edition of the commentary. See the project’s website:

[ back ] 4. Curti 1989c:3–17. MS. Coislin 44 is based on a direct tradition from Eusebius’ actual commentary. Curti notes that it is by no means free from errors.

[ back ] 5. See the detailed review of the extracts on the first fifty psalms in Rondeau and Kirchmeyer 1967:col. 1689.

[ back ] 6. Harl 1972.

[ back ] 7. Harl 1972:90, 153.

[ back ] 8. The dating of Cadiou 1936, cited in Harl 1972:154n1.

[ back ] 9. On the complex questions surrounding the fragmentary evidence for Origen’s engagement with the Psalter, see Nautin 1977:249–250, 258–259, and 261–292. Nautin identifies two true commentaries, the ones just mentioned, plus a collection of short explanations or sêmeiôseis, a word which Jerome translated as excerpta (Nautin 1977:259n73), consisting of various passages culled from throughout the Psalter; Nautin argues that Jerome’s own Excerpta in Psalterium is heavily dependent on Origen’s (cf. Nautin 1977:249–250 on the length of the Caesarean commentary).

[ back ] 10. The Philocalia (1.29) preserves a fragment of Origen’s commentary on Ps 50, but what is said there bears no resemblance to Eusebius’ treatment of that psalm—assuming that we can accept that the passage is really Eusebius’. Considering the emphasis it gives to to theosebes politeuma as an eikôn of the heavenly City of God (PG 23.441), I see no reason to doubt that it belongs to Eusebius.

[ back ] 11. Kannengiesser 2004.

[ back ] 12. To appear in vol. 1 of Carleton Paget and Schaper forthcoming.

[ back ] 13. A recent exception is Johnson 2006.

[ back ] 14. CPs on Ps 87:11 (PG 23.1064a), already noted by Montfaucon, the original editor (PG 23.20b–21b), as a terminus post quem. On the Constantinian buildings, cf. Eusebius Life of Constantine 3.25–40, and the commentary of Cameron and Hall 1999:274–291. Montfaucon’s late dating is followed by Harnack 1904:II 122–123; Wallace-Hadrill 1960:52, 57; Moreau 1966:col. 1064; and Curti 1989c:196n7. Rondeau 1982:66–69 presents arguments for a slightly earlier date and for the hypothesis that there were two editions of the commentary. Barnes 1981:391n38 also admits the possibility of an earlier edition before 324 that was later updated. Curti 1989a:196n7 comments that even if there was an earlier edition, the present version is the only one that has survived, and the datum of the comment on Ps 87:11 trumps efforts to lower the date on the basis of such things as an alleged change in Christological vocabulary.

[ back ] 15. Hollerich 1999:19–26.

[ back ] 16. Commenting on Ps 67:23–25, Eusebius several times calls the Logos “a secondary Lord” (cf. PG 23.705d and 709b, with reference to Ps 109:1) but never, that I can see, a secondary God, a usage that does show up in the pre-Nicene works, such as DE 5.Proem.23, which speaks of “the secondary Lord and God after the supreme Father.” Neither usage, secondary God or secondary Lord, occurs in the Isaiah commentary, which was written in the immediate wake of the Council of Nicaea.

[ back ] 17. See Johnson 2011, for the argument that the fragments on Luke derive from an otherwise lost commentary on that gospel, rather than from the tenth book of the General Elementary Introduction (as argued by Wallace-Hadrill).

[ back ] 18. Cf. Barnes 1981:265–271 and Cameron and Hall 1999:9–12 on the incomplete status of our text of the VC.

[ back ] 19. DE 10.1.3 (trans. Ferrar). Cf. also DE 6.18.11 (= frag. 19, Berchman), where Eusebius identifies unnamed skeptics as claiming that Zech 14:1–10 was fulfilled in the days of Antiochus, not in the coming of Christ and the destruction of the sacrificial cult of the Temple. For the identification of Porphyry as the critic, see Barnes 1981:363n96. For criticisms of attempts to see Porphyry as the anonymous critic, see Morlet 2009. Even if Morlet’s caution is well placed, it remains clear from other fragments of Porphyry’s Against the Christians that he was opposed to Christian attempts to interpret the Jewish Scriptures as prophetic of Christ or Christian events.

[ back ] 20. And beyond the New Testament into the Christian era: Hollerich 1989 proposes Porphyry as one of those who regarded the Exodus story as a “myth.” Eusebius saw Constantine’s victory at the Milvian Bridge as a typological fulfillment of the defeat of Pharaoh and his troops—providing perhaps the first of what would become many political extrapolations from the book of Exodus.

[ back ] 21. For a fine recent survey of patristic exegesis of the Psalter, with special emphasis on its spiritual internalization as Christian prayer, see Daley 2003. Rondeau 1985:169–195 offers a detailed analysis of Eusebius’ méthode prosopologique in identifying the various speakers or referents in the Psalms.

[ back ] 22. See Grafton and Williams 2006:198–199, who cite both Rondeau 1982:71–72 (“a supplementary trace of the scholarly endeavors of Eusebius on the Psalter”) and Mercati 1948:95–104, which latter work I have not been able to consult. We do have a short list by Eusebius of the subject matter of each of the 150 Psalms, entitled Hupotheseis (“Themes”; reprinted in PG 23.68–72). On the newly identified version of the Psalms canon tables, see the paper of Martin Wallraff presented at the Oxford International Patristics Conference in 2011: His paper deserves publication, which I expect to happen in the near future.

[ back ] 23. Hollerich 1999:165–203.

[ back ] 24. A passage that contains a quotation from Homer Odyssey i 23–24, on the location of the Ethiopians at the ends of the earth (PG 23.805b); see Johnson 2006:179.

[ back ] 25. See Eusebius’ exposition of this apologetic motif in DE 1.8 and Hollerich 2002:172–184.

[ back ] 26. CPs on 64:14 (PG 23.644d). Eusebius’ esteem for celibacy is well documented; see the previous note and also Eusebius’ defense in his Life of Constantine of Constantine’s repeal of the Augustan legislation that penalized childless marriages (VC 4.26.2–4; cf. the discussion in Cameron and Hall 1999:322–324).

[ back ] 27. PG 23.689c.

[ back ] 28. Barnes 1981:164. That was also Carmelo Curti’s judgment, expressed in an excellent survey of Eusebius’ exegesis: “L’approccio filologico al testo è peculiare di tutta la produzione di Eusebio, dalle opere giovanili a quelle della maturità e della vechiaia, ma in poche è condotto con tanta acribià come nei Commentarii in Psalmos” (Curti 1989b:205).

[ back ] 29. Theodotion’s diminished significance compared to Quinta becomes more intriguing when seen in connection with Mercati’s discovery that the Milan Hexapla palimpsest, which has five columns of Greek translations of the psalms (fragments of Psalms 17 through 88), contains a transliterated Hebrew column, Aquila, Symmachus, the LXX, and Quinta—not Theodotion—in the fifth and final column on the right. See Fernández Marcos 2000:212–213.

[ back ] 30. CPs on Ps 61:5 (PG 23.592c).

[ back ] 31. Including one instance when he knows that the LXX rendering of ’Iêsouach (to use the Greek transliteration) as tou sôtêrion sou reflects the addition of the pronominal suffix, and that the abstract noun sôtêria would be “the commoner form among the Hebrews,” thus signaling (to him, anyway) that something or someone special is indicated by the more unusual sôtêrion (PG 23.440d, on Ps 50:14/Ps 51:14 MT).

[ back ] 32. He is not beyond a certain pedantic pride, which at one point trips him up. Commenting on the puzzling repetition of “Saba” in both Aquila’s and Symmachus’ translations of Ps 71:10 (=72:10 MT) as “the kings of Saba and Saba,” Eusebius notes that the Hebrew has two different words that to a Greek ear are not easily distinguished because both begin with sibilants, sheba’ and seba’. Unfortunately, he gets the letters wrong, saying that the first word begins with a shin (in Greek sen) and the second with a tsade (in Greek sadê). But the second word actually begins with a samekh (23.808b). See the discussion in Johnson 2006:181–182.

[ back ] 33. Origen Commentary on Matthew 15.14, as cited and discussed in Fernández Marcos 2000:208–210.

[ back ] 34. Cf. Origen’s Letter to Africanus 5. See the comments of Nicholas de Lange in his edition of the letter (de Lange 1983:496, 500, and 535).

[ back ] 35. DE 5.Proem.35–36, trans. Ferrar (slightly revised). Like Origen, he accepted the authenticity of the Letter to Aristeas, but also like Origen, he avoided the later elaboration of the legend of the mysteriously identical translations. Irenaeus, on the other hand, had accepted it, in a passage that Eusebius quoted in the Church History (HE 5.8.10–15). See now Wasserstein and Wasserstein 2006:109–112.

[ back ] 36. CPs 86:6 (PG 23.1049b–c). Cf. also PE 8.1. The Armenian translation of Eusebius’ Chronicle preserves a more scurrilous explanation for deviations between the LXX and the Hebrew text possessed by the Jews of Eusebius’ time: see Schoene 1967:I 84.22–35, 94.5–28, 96.3–5.

[ back ] 37. See Fernández Marcos 2000:111–113 (traditions about Aquila), 123–126 (Symmachus), and 142–143 (Theodotion). The Christian devaluing of the versions because of their Jewish associations has recently been emphasized by Rajak 2009:310–311.

[ back ] 38. Veltri 2006:56.

[ back ] 39. Nautin 1977:268, citing a passage from Origen’s first commentary on the Psalms, on Ps 1, as preserved in the Philocalia 3 (Harl 1983:260.1–13; see her commentary, 262–268, esp. 264n2), and Origen’s comments on the parallel between the twenty-two books in the Hebrew scriptures and the twenty-two letters in their alphabet (cf. Eusebius HE 6.25.1–2).

[ back ] 40. My thanks to Aaron Johnson for pointing out this interesting passage; see Johnson 2006:134–135. Eusebius is partially dependent here on Origen’s discussion in Contra Celsum 1.24–25.

[ back ] 41. See Curti’s detailed account of Eusebius’ elaborate web of cross-comparisons in Curti 1989b:206–210.

[ back ] 42. PG 23.65a–68a (Pss 1–40, 41–72, 73–88, 89–105, 106–150). At Ps 40:14 (PG 23.365d), he draws attention to the first of the four doxologies that divide the Psalter.

[ back ] 43. PG 23.445d–448a, the conclusion to his preface to Ps 51, in which he presents a detailed review of the jumbled chronology of the psalms attributed to David in the first two portions of the Psalter.

[ back ] 44. Curti has already drawn attention to these two passages, one on Ps 62 and the other on Ps 86 (Curti 1989b:208). My translation of the commentary on Ps 62:2–3 (PG 23.601a–604b) will appear in the Eusebius chapter in the forthcoming New Cambridge History of the Bible.

[ back ] 45. See PG 23.1040b–1041d (on Ps 86).

[ back ] 46. Not everyone was comfortable with this contingent explanation. Hilary of Poitiers, Theodoret, and Cassiodorus are among those who thought that the arrangement and the numbering were the inspiration of the Spirit and were therefore essential to the psalms’ interpretation (Daley 2003:199).

[ back ] 47. Origen Selecta in psalmos (PG 12.1073d–1076b). In fairness it should be noted that Origen recognized the possibility of a historical explanation as well.

[ back ] 48. See note 3 above.