Eusebius was an early (263-339) Christian historian who eventually became Bishop of Caesarea, although his is more commonly known for his work on early church history. His work has been exceptionally helpful in that he references a number of early church writings which to our knowledge have not survived. The blog Heart, Mind, Soul & Strenth has posted a very interesting peice on Eusebius’ comments concerning the criteria used to determine whether a writing should be considered authentic and worthy of being included as scripture. The article states:
… Eusebius’ general stance is that a writing was not accepted unless there was positive reason to accept it. That is to say, the default position was one of skepticism. Rather than accepting any book by default unless it could be disproved, the position was the opposite: he rejected any book which did not have historical evidence in its favor.
There are a lot of spurious claims made about the Bible, and about why books were included and others were not. Thankfully, we have writings like that of Eusebius to give some clarity, not that those who have already chosen to doubt will accept this as sufficient evidence to change their minds.
Thanks for the link. I find the Eusebius’ approach to whether a writing such as the Gospel of Peter (or even 1 and 2 Peter) should be accepted as genuine (“Why?”) very refreshing compared to the fairly uncritical “Why not?” that would be given to it these days. Of course Eusebius’ question was serious rather than flippant: when there really was a reason why to accept a document, he was glad to take the writing more seriously.
Take care & God bless
I’ll check out Eusebius’ writings.