Eusebius’ lost work against Porphyry – extant in 1838?

Eusebius’ refutation of Porphyry’s attack on the Christians is lost; but it seems it may not have been lost that long ago.

Does anyone know whether there are manuscripts still in Rodosto, a town 60 miles west of Istanbul and now known as Tekirdag? Or if not, where the mss of the expelled Greek community now are?

I ask because of references to manuscripts of Eusebius of Caesarea against Porphyry. There is a statement in Harnack’s edition of the fragments of Porphyry’s Against the Christians, p.30:

A listing of manuscripts in Rodosto, written between 1565 and 1575, on p.30b: Eusebiou tou Pamphilou Kata Porphuriou (s. Forster, De antiquitatibus et libris ms. Constantinopolitanis, Rostochii, 1877; cf. Neumann in Theol. Lit. Ztg. 1899, col. 299). In 1838 a great fire broke out in Rodosto.

It would be most interesting to know whether this ms. exists anywhere.   Does anyone know who would know?

I wonder if Forster and Neumann are online.

Harnack’s next paragraph continues with a statement that an ms. in the Iviron monastery on Mt. Athos, codex 1280 (s. XVII) which contains Eusebius, biblos peri ths euangekiwn diaphwnias; Eis thn prophhthn Hsaian logoi t konta [sic]; [Kata] Porphyriou logoi l’ [sic]; topikon logos a’ etc (see Meyer, Ztschr. fur. K.-Gesch. XI, p.156).

But this last is probably a red herring.  Long ago I scanned and translated MEYER, Ph., Der griechische Irenäus und der ganze Hegesippus im 17. Jahrhundert, Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte (1890) pp. 155-158 (English translation).

Iviron 1280 mainly contains church music, but at the end is a letter with a couple of pages containing merely a list of books, which mentions Hegesippus, Irenaeus, Methodius against Porphyry, plus Eusebius Against Porphyry and his Biblical Questions (diaphonias).

There are a number of these lists from the renaissance and later in existence. Nigel Wilson has written that at least some of them look like the productions of dealers in the East, intended to draw in the too eager western buyer in order to do a ‘bait-and-switch’ scam. One of them even looks like a deliberate joke.

5 thoughts on “Eusebius’ lost work against Porphyry – extant in 1838?

  1. The Greek communities of Eastern Thrace (including Raidestos) left in 1923 with their carts carrying even mops for mopping, quite unlike the Greeks of Asia Minor who fled for their lives chased by Kemal’s murderous army (and at least 500.000 of them where slaughtered by Kemal’s army). Since it was relatively peaceful and organized I believed that the monks and the priests carried their treasures with them. If you where to go today to Raidestos all that is left from the Greeks are a few houses in the center, the churches were put to more productive uses like stables. New Raidestos is part of the Thermi municipality in the Thessaloniki urban agglomeration, perhaps you will have better luck there.

  2. I think Richard Goulet may have a note on this in the introduction of his MACARIOS DE MAGNÉSIE, Le Monogénès. Introduction générale, édition critique, traduction française et commentaire par Richard GOULET, coll. «Textes et traditions» 7, Paris, Librairie philosophique J. Vrin, 2003, 2 vol. de 390 p. et 454 p.

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