Type of Culminating Activity
Master of Arts in History
Eusebius of Caesarea delivered a panegyric in the thirtieth year of Constantine’s reign, 335 AD, celebrating the piety and faith of the emperor. This panegyric, the Oratio de Laudibus Constantini, or Oration in Praise of Constantine, provides a political theology for the divine sanction of the Christian monarch by linking the emperor’s rule to the rule of God. Much of the Oratio is an account of the pious deeds and divine victories of Constantine’s reign, suggesting that the emperor had in fact achieved the ideal of a Christian monarch. Through the Logos (Word or Reason) of God, the emperor can partake of divine authority by imitating the divine archetype, and thereby manifest on earth a reflection of the kingdom of Heaven. This concept of the Logos, though placed in a Christian context, is directly derived from Hellenistic political philosophy. Although other scholars have already established the Hellenistic influence on Eusebius, this thesis will explore the historical process that brought together Greek philosophy and Christian theology into what is known as Christian Platonism. Using this philosophical framework, Eusebius used ideas from the Hellenistic world to develop a Christian response to the pagan conceptions of divine sanction as represented by the Latin panegyrics of the late empire. Eusebius’s Oration in Praise of Constantine marks the final stage in the progression of the Latin panegyrics, culminating in a political theology that proclaims a monotheistic monarchy for a Christian empire.
Brandon, Benjamin David, "Eusebius of Caesarea’s Oration in Praise of Constantine as the Political Philosophy of the Christian Empire" (2012). Boise State University Theses and Dissertations. 337.