E. Schwartz on the book titles and kephalaia of Eusebius’ Church History

They certainly knew how to write scholarly editions, those editors of the Griechischen Christlichen Schriftsteller series.  A handful of pages on “titles and kephalaia” in GCS 9.3, by the editor, Eduard Schwarz[1], has nevertheless remained unchallenged for a century.

Of course one reason for this may be that it is incredibly hard for any non-German to read.  Anyway, I have prepared a rough translation of the pages in question, p.clxvii-cliii, with a view to making them better known.  I have also added English translations of the Greek kephalaia given in the text, and overparagraphed at one or two points.

In order to follow the argument, it is necessary to know that Schwartz believed that Eusebius revised his work several times, mainly to remove people who had been executed or whatever in the meantime, and so produced four “editions”, the last in 325 AD.

In Schwartz, the “kephalaia” are the tables of contents that appear at the top of each book.  Each entry in that table is a kephalaion.

*    *     *     *

IV. Headings and Kephalaia.

[p.cxlvii] In chapter 2 we showed that Eusebius originally issued the 7 books of  the original Church History with a  single book as a sort of appendix, and how from this single book in the  penultimate edition 3 more books were produced.  There is substantial evidence that the final edition, present in BDMSA,  was divided into two τεύχη  [codices] of five books, if not by Eusebius himself, at least prior to the  translation into Syriac.  In BD at the  end of book 5 the manuscripts suddenly shorten in a noticeable way: see the  notes on p.504, ll.14-16, 19/20, 21, 21-25, 26 – p.506, 6, 13-15.  This would not normally happen, and can only  be explained because the copyist of the exemplar of BD felt that he was running out of space, and that could only happen if a particular size τεῦχος was  specified for the first 5 books; and therefore also for the last 5 books.  Furthermore BD also change the spelling of “Moses” in the first and last books (see chapter 6); in the first books it is always given in the form Μωυσῆς, – the form used throughout in ATER – but in the last books they agree with M which always reads Μωσῆς.  This is only conceivable if the two halves circulated separately.  That this is not just a peculiarity of BD but that BD, as so often, represents BDM, may be shown by two further indicators: that 1. in the latter books, the special readings of DM cease almost entirely, and that 2. the London manuscript of the Syriac translation never contained more than 5 books.  The latter is shown by the presence of a colophon, which, although it  was erased, we learn that it was indeed present.

[p.cxlviii] At first sight the headings and subscriptions of the individual books look like a confused mess.  However arbitrary additions by copyists can easily be identified.

The simplest and most regular set are the headings in T.  At the top stands the complete text, Εὐσεβίου τοῦ Παμφίλου Ἐκκλησιαστικῆς ἱστορίας A.  In all subsequent books there is merely the numeral of the book.  The subscriptions read: Ἐκκλησιαστικῆς ἱστορίας A, Ἐκκλησιαστικῆς ἱστορίας B, etc., for every book up to book 9.  For book 10 the subscription is Εὐσεβίου τοῦ Παμφίλου Ἐκκλησιαστικῆς ἱστορίας τόμοι δέκα.

A and BD are next in order of simplicity.  In a, which must represent A here, the heading for the first book lacks name and title, consisting purely of λόγος A, and this runs through the manuscript, except that for the 8th and 10th books, instead of the numeral there is ὄγδοος and δέκατος respectively.  For subscriptions, the first two books are the same as T.  For books 3-5 they read, Ἐκκλησιαστικῆς ἱστορίας λόγος Γ’ or Δ’ or E’.  For books 6, 8 and 9 they read τέλος τοῦ ϛ’ or H’ or Θ’ λόγου τῆς Ἐκκλησιαστικῆς ἱστορίας.  For book 7 it reads τέλος τοῦ ἑβδόμου λόγου.  B and D differ in the title for book 1: Εὐσεβίου τοῦ Παμφίλου Ἐκκλησιαστικῆς ἱστορίας [= T] τόμος A’ B, while Εὐσεβίου Ἐκκλησιαστικῆς ἱστορίας βιβλίον B’  D.

In the following both name and title have been omitted, leaving only βιβλίον Γ’ [τρίτον B], βιβλίον Δ’, βιβλίον E’ [because of the gap in D] βιβλίον ἕκτον, βιβλίον ἕβδομον, βιβλίον H’ D, βιβλίον Θ’ D [in B the titles are missing from books 8 and 9] βιβλίον I’ D [δέκατον B].

The subscriptions display even more arbitrariness than in A. Uniformity is only seen in books 4 and 5: τῆς Ἐκκλησιαστικῆς  αστικῆς ἱστορίας βιβλίον Δ’ [τέταρτον D] or E.  For books 6-9 they are omitted completely from D.  B has τέλος τοῦ τῆς Ἐκκλησιαστικῆς ἱστορίας ἕκτου βιβλίον, τῆς Ἐκκλησιαστικῆς ἱστορίας [in book 7 the word Εὐσεβίου appears here] βιβλίον ἕβδομον or H’ or Θ’, and τέλος added at the end.  T follows D only for book 3: Ἐκκλησιαστικῆς ἱστορίας Γ’, where B again gives a prolix version: τέλος βιβλίον τρίτου τῆς Ἐκκλησιαστικῆς ἱστορίας Εὐσεβίου.  At the end of book 1, BD have: τῆς Ἐκκλησιαστικῆς ἱστορίας Εὐσεβίου τοῦ Παμφίλου λόγος [= A] A’, and at the end of book 2: τῆς Ἐκκλησιαστικῆς ἱστορίας [B adds Εὐσεβίου here] λόγος B’.

In B the subscription for the whole work does not appear at the end of book 10, but only beneath the attached excerpt from the Vita Constantini: τέλος σὺν τῆς ὅλης Ἐκκλησιαστικῆς ἱστορίας Εὐσεβίου τοῦ Παμφίλου ἤτοι τῶν δέκα τόμων: in D it has fallen out, together with the end of some excerpts [see above, p.xxii].

[p.cxlix] Leaving to one side all the one-off exceptions, it seems that firstly, the overall title, consisting of the name of the author and his distinctive title, the name of the work (without article), was only positioned over the start of book 1; then, that the individual books were provided only with numerals, as in the titles and colophons of T and the first two subscriptions in A: that the terms added in A and BD, λόγος or βιβλίον, cancel each other.  Now let us move onto the edition.  The subscriptions I shall not discuss further.

As with the kephalaia, the headings in ER are different.  M is influenced by this change.  In E, above book 1 is written: Εὐσεβίου τοῦ Παμφίλου Ἐκκλησιαστικῆς ἱστορίας [= TB] βιβλίον A’: M has the same heading and these run throughout all the books. For 4, 6 and 8 there is τέταρτον, ἕκτον, ὄγδοον instead of the numeral.  On the other hand in E the format is only gradually changed: for books 2-4 it reads Εὐσεβίου Καισαρείας Ἐκκλησιαστικῆς ἱστορίας τόμος B’ or Γ’ or Δ’, for 5 and 7-10 Εὐσεβίου ἐπισκόπου Καισαρείας τῆς Παλαιστίνης Ἐκκλησιαστικῆς ἱστορίας τόμος E’ or Z’ or H’ or Θ’ or I’; book 6 omits τῆς Παλαιστίνης.  R corresponds to E for books 3-5 and 7-10; for book 6 there is no article in Καισαρείας Παλαιστίνης; for book 2, the heading reads Εὐσεβίου τοῦ Παμφίλου ἐπισκόπου Καισαρείας Παλαιστίνης Ἐκκλησιαστικῆς ἱστορίας τόμος β’; there is no heading to book 1.

The subscriptions are missing in RM, against ancient usage; in E book 1 agrees with E; in book 2, the following is written with the letters descending the page vertically, Εὐσεβίου τόμος  B’; for books 3, 5, 8 and 9 it reads Εὐσεβίου Ἐκκλησιαστικῆς ἱστορίας τόμος Γ’ oder βιβλίον ϛ’; oder βιβλίον H’ oder βιβλίον Θ’, for book 4 Εὐσεβίου Καισαρείας Ἐκκλησιαστικῆς ἱστορίας λόγος Δ’, for book 5 Εὐσεβίου Καισαρείας Ἐκκλησιαστικῆς ἱστορίας τόμος E’.  Immediately after book 10 is τέλος τοῦ ι  τόμου, but beneath the appendix from the Vita Constantini is Εὐσεβίου Ἐκκλησιαστικῆς ἱστορίας βιβλίον δέκατον. The characteristic of this recension is that the complete title appears above each book, and the effort to insert Eusebius‘ title of bishop.

The original form of the kephalaia is only found in AT and the two ancient translations: the latter here in particular demonstrate their value as a control.  In BD they are abbreviated; in ER, at least from book 3 on, they have been thoroughly revised.  M offers its own recension for books 2-5 – the capitulatio for book 1 is missing –, which is similar to that for ER without being identical to it.  On the other hand the minor efforts in Tc in book 2 to correct the kephalaia agree with M; further evidence that Tc is not derived from E.

[p. cl] In the second τεῦχος, i.e. books 5-10, M agrees with AT and the translations; here also the division into two volumes makes itself felt: in the second one the corrector of the exemplar of M lost interest.

In all the manuscripts and translations, the kephalaia stand before each book.  They are designed to be read one after another; the various pronouns reveal this, which refer back to a preceding kephalaion, e.g. 2, 10. 12. 13*; 182, 8*. 18*; 294, 7*. 8 [τοὺς δηλουμένους, equivalent to a pronoun .]. 16; 296, 8; 396, 7; 510, 6; 512, 4. 10; 630, 3. 8; 798, 10, or the omission of common subjects, e.g. 182, 12*; 510, 5. 16; 512, 8. 9; 732, 9—13. 16 [where μαρτύρων is consistently added to Περὶ τῶν κτλ.] or verbs, e.g. 182, 18*; 184, 1. 15; 296, 7; 39, 12; also particles, which are only comprehensible if the kephalaia are collected together, e.g. 182, 17*; 396, 12.

From this it follows that the arrangement in AS, where the kephalaia are repeated within the text or in the margin or above the individual sections is not original, and is contrary to the intent of the author; these headings are indeed incomprehensible in isolation, to a great extent, and they had to be changed in Am and Σt, at the places indicated with an asterisk; although in Am the text of the kephalaia is treated in an entirely arbitrary manner, including those standing at the head of a book.  In some places it is almost impossible to turn the kephalaia directly into marginal notes or headings in the text.  The kephalaia 13-16 of book 3 read:

ΙΓ’    Ὡς δεύτερος Ἀλεχανδρέων ἡγεῖται Ἀβίλιος.
[XIII.  How Abilius was the second ruler of the Alexandrians.]
ΙΔ’    Ὡς καὶ Ῥωμαίων δεύτερος Ἀνέγκλητος ἐπισκοπεῖ.
[XIV.  And how Anencletus was the second bishop of the Romans.]
ΙΕ’    Ὡς τρίτος μετ’ αὐτὸν Κλήμης.
[XV. How, after him, Clement was the third.]
Iϛ’     Περὶ τῆς Κλήμεντος ἐπιστολῆς.
[XVI. On the epistle of Clement.]

This does not fit the text, because ΙΓ’ corresponds to 228, 17-19, ΙΔ’ 228, 12-15, IE’ to 228, 20-24, and Iϛ’ to 230, 1-7.  Eusebius has switched over the order of the first two, in order to collect together the notices referring to Rome.  In the main text it is different, because he recognises there that Anencletus lived in the time of Titus and Abilius under Domitian.  So if the kephalaia are broken up and inserted into the text, confusion must arise. Σ preserves the order of the kephalaia in the headings, and puts Kephalaion 13 over 228, 17, and 14 over 228, 20, where it does not belong, and 15 over 228, 21 [from ὂν συνεργὸν γενέσθαι on], where it also does not fit: because it is not in the 15th but in the 14th kephalaion that Clement followed Anencletus.

On the other hand Am makes a radical change; 13 and 14 are switched, and edited so that they can serve as headings:

[p. cli]

ΙΓ’     Ὡς δεύτερος Ῥωμαίων ἐπίσκοπος Ἀνέγκλητος.
[XIII.   How Anencletus was the second bishop of the Romans.]
ΙΔ’     Ὡς δεύτερος Ἀλεξανδρείας ἐπίσκοπος Ἀβίλιος.
[XIV. How Abilius was second bishop of the Alexandrians.]

A second case is book 6, kephalaia 26 and 27 [512, 10]:

Κϛ’   Ὅπως αὐτὸν [Origenes] ἑώρων οἱ ἐπίσκοποι.
[XXVI. How the bishops regarded him.]
ΚΖ’   Ὡς Ἡρακλᾶς τὴν Ἀλεξανδρέων ἐπισκοπὴν διεδέξατο.
[XXVII. How Heraclas succeeded to the episcopate of the Alexandrians.]

Κϛ’ corresponds to 580, 16-25; KZ’ to 580, 13-15: Eusebius reordered the kephalaia, in order to make 26 follow 23-25, the series dealing with Origen.  Here Am and Σarm give both, and in Σarm this interpolation has also entered the kephalaia at the start of the book; and further, while Am retains αὐτόν, although it has become meaningless, Σarm changes it in both places to αὑτούς, which does not fit Eusebius’ narrative.

In most of the manuscripts, and in the Syriac translation, the kephalaia are numbered, and thereby connected to the sections of the text itself, where the numbers are repeated in the margin.  Naturally there are great differences in the transmission.  But this is not an original feature; the same passages which indicate that the repetition of the kephalaia in the text is not original likewise disprove the repetition of the numerals.  Ms. T, in which the numerals are consistently missing – M omits them only in the last two books – here, as  in the headings, preserves the original.[2]

However I have nevertheless retained them and also placed them in the margin, so that the kephalaia can be more easily cited, and because the numerals, if one carefully locates their positions from the transmission, are an excellent means to identify the paragraphs intended by Eusebius: the numbered kephalaia also permit rapid orientation and finding of passages, so I have not replaced the numerals with modern numbers, and I hope this will be applauded and imitated in similar cases.

Existing opinion wrongly maintains that Eusebius did not compose these kephalaia.  All the same, they go back to the fourth century, as the translations show, and seem to be by Eusebius himself, because in several places he refers to himself as “we”.

On p.100, 19, in the notice which is at the bottom of the kephalaia of the second book, Συνῆκται ἡμῖν ἡ βίβλος ἀπὸ τῶν Κλήμεντος Τερτυλλιανοῦ Ἰωσήπου Φίλωνος. [Our book was compiled from those of Clement, Tertullian, Josephus and Philo.]


[Note: it looks as if something here has dropped out of the printed text, as Schwartz does not explain his next quotation.  But plainly these are more ‘we’ examples. - RP]

p. 632, 18    [book 7, #30] Περὶ τῶν καθ’ ἡμᾶς αὐτοὺς διαπρεψάντων ἐκκλησιαστικῶν  ἀνδρῶν…
[XXX.  On the distinguished churchmen of our own day…]
p. 732, 3     [book 8, #1] Περὶ τῶν πρὸ τοῦ καθ ἡμᾶς διωγμοῦ.
[I. On the events before the persecution in our day.]

The Eusebian formula τὸν Χριστὸν τοῦ θεοῦ [2, 7] would hardly have been used at a later period; in 182, 21 the kephalaion Περὶ Ἰωάννου τοῦ ἀποστόλου καὶ τῆς Ἀποκαλύψεως is carefully phrased, so that nothing is suggested of an apostolic origin for the Apocalypse.  632, 10 Περὶ τῆς Ἰωάννου ἀποκαλύψεως does not contradict this, as neither Dionysius nor Eusebius doubted that it was written by someone named John; only that it was written by the apostle of that name.  It is decisive that the differences between the last two editions of the work continue in the kephalaia.  Certainty is impossible in book 10, because that part is missing in both A and Σ.  However a remnant of the penultimate edition is visible in book 9:

Θ’    Περὶ τῆς τῶν τυράννων καταστροφῆς τοῦ βίου, καὶ οἵαις ἐχρήσαντο πρὸ τῆς τελευτῆς φωναῖς = 826,20 – 848,8
[IX. On the close of the tyrants’ lives, and the expressions they made use of before the end.]
Ι’      Περὶ τῆς τῶν θεοφιλῶν βασιλέων νίκης = 826, 20- 840, 19
[X.  On the victory of the god-beloved emperors.]
ΙΑ’   Περὶ τῆς ὑστάτης ἀπωλείας τῶν τῆς θεοσεβείας ἐχθρῶν = 848, 9 – 852, 6.
[XI.  On the final destruction of the enemies of godliness.]

Kephalaion 10 is in the wrong place.  It should be moved before no. 9, and instead of τῶν τυράννων [of the tyrants’] we would expect τοῦ τυράννου [of the tyrant’s]: apparently this is a remnant of the penultimate edition, in which Licinius still played the role of the emperor beloved by God, and should be replaced by no. 9, but the correction has been done carelessly.  It is unthinkable that any 4th century redactor, that anyone other than Eusebius himself would have given both Constantine and Licinius the title θεοφιλὴς βασιλεύς.

The same applies to the kephalaia of the Vita Constantini [3]; only Eusebius himself could have named at 72, 18 the “bishop Eusebius (of Nicomedia), at 75, 8 Eustathius, and at 39, 3 the Melitians, none of which are named in the text.  He also provided the Preaching of Constantine, which he published as an appendix of the Vita, with a summary, and there is no reason to doubt that the capitulations of the Praeparatio and Demonstratio evangelica are genuine; it is a natural assumption that the continuators of Eusebius’ Church History took from him his manner of prefacing each book with capitulations.  The custom of prefacing with a table of contents was brought across from the genre of Ἱστορίαι, to which the Church History belongs, where there story may not be consecutive but material is accumulated [see Nachr. d. Gött. Ges. d. Wiss. Geschäftl. Mitthlg. 1908, p.111]: [p.cliii] precisely because the contents are disparate, the reader needs a way to orient himself.  Well-known examples are Pliny’s Naturalis historia and Gellius’ Noctes Atticae, also Diodorus’ Βιβλιοθήκη, which Pliny [praef. 25] rightly considers as a compilation [4].  The index with which Stobaeus prefixed his great work can be compared to the capitulation of the Praeparatio and Demonstratio.  Throughout the practice is the same, that the capitulation appears at the front of the text, and not in the text itself.

*    *     *     *

What a marvellous examination of a very thorny issue!

  1. [1] Eusebius Werke. Zweiter Band. Die Kirchengeschichte. Dritter Teil. Leipzig, 1909.  All GCS volumes here; vol. 9.3 here.
  2. [2] 1) For Diodorus, and the newly discovered book by Didymus, Περὶ Δημοσθένους, Laqueur has shown [Hermes 43, p.222] that the kephalaia stood at the front of a book without numbers. — Schwartz.
  3. [3] [1] So, correctly, Giorgio Pasquali, Göttingische Gelehrte Anzeigen, 171 (1909), p.285. — Schwartz. Online here.
  4. [4] [1] The Κεφάλαια of P.Oxy IV 665, from a history of Sicily, are hard to evaluate since we cannot guess to which work they belong.  Laqueur has shown that the Anonymus Argentoratensis published by Keil is nothing less than the capitulation of a book about Demosthenes’ Androtionea.

5 Responses to “E. Schwartz on the book titles and kephalaia of Eusebius’ Church History”

  1. stephan huller

    After reading your fascinating post I am reminded of the lost work of Hippolytus Head[ing]s [κεφαλαια] Against Caius. While the work no longer exists and its reconstruction is difficult to piece together, surely this points to an even earlier use of chapter headings. No?

  2. Roger Pearse

    Your memory will be better than mine; but all I remember about this work against Gaius is the article here. This says that we know of the work because Ebedjesu (=Abd’Isho Bar Berikha) lists it in his list of Syriac literature, here. I don’t know what the Syriac words used for this work are. Do you?

  3. stephan huller

    Some writers, like Bar Hebraeus, follow the divisions ܩܦܠܐܘܢ chapter, ܦܣܘܩܐ part, ܢܝܫܐ section. I would imagine that the Syriac transliterated the title – κεφαλαια

  4. stephan huller

    It must have been a transliteration of the Greek . Here is a footnote about another Syriac manuscript: http://demo.sheruyasodha.com.np/uploads/Jnl_of_Semitic_Studies_542_%5BAutumn_2009%5D_389-391.pdf

    A. Mingana, Catalogue of the Mingana Collection of Manuscripts, now in the possession of the Trustees of the Woodbrooke Settlement, Selly Oak, Birmingham, 1, Syriac
    and Garshuni Manuscripts (Cambridge 1933), 153–5. According to the catalogue, this manuscript was written at Mosul in 1902 in West Syriac script. It has 140 leaves
    of double columns with thirty-two lines to the column. It is ‘the book of Iwannis (John) of Dara’. It is divided into eleven memrei, subdivided into kephalia. The section published by Becker corresponds with ff. 40b–43a, the fifth memra, described by Mingana as ‘divided into two kephalia, on priesthood. It contains a controversy
    between a Jew and a Christian’. According to Mingana (155) the original MS. from which the copy was made is ‘some seven hundred years old’ and a note in Garshuni describes the state of the original manuscript. Its colophon has disappeared and it was somewhat renovated in 1744. See Breydy, ‘Les compilations’, 277

  5. Roger Pearse

    Thank you very much for these details, Stephan. Any other notes on kephalaia or tables of contents in Syriac mss would be very welcome. How did you find the latter?