« Philogonius, bp. of Antioch Philostorgius, a Cappadocian author Philoxenus, a Monophysite leader »

Philostorgius, a Cappadocian author

Philostorgius, a Cappadocian, born c. 368, and author of a church history extending from 300 to 425. The greater part has perished, but some fragments have been preserved by Photius. They were published by Godefrid at Geneva in 1642, and by Valesius, with a Latin trans. and notes, at Paris in 1673. An English trans. by Walford appeared in 1855. Photius regarded both author and book with worse than contempt. The style he allows to be sometimes elegant, though more frequently marked by stiffness, coldness, and obscurity. The contents he treats as unworthy of reliance, often beginning his extracts by denouncing the author as an "enemy of God," an "impious wretch," an "impudent liar." Even Gibbon, naturally inclined as he was to accept the statements of a heretic in preference to those of an orthodox theologian, is compelled to allow that "the credibility of Philostorgius is lessened, in the eyes of the orthodox, by his Arianism; and, in those of rational critics, by his passion, his prejudice, and his ignorance" (Hist. c. xxi.). Gibbon thinks that he appears to have obtained "some curious and authentic intelligence" (c. xxv.), yet was marked in making use of it by "cautious malice" (c. xxiii.). These unfavourable opinions are shared by Tillemont (Hist. vol. iv. p. 281), and, though with some just expressions as to what might have been the value of his history had it been preserved, by Jortin (Eccl. Hist. vol. ii. p. 122) and Schröckh (vol. i. p. 148). All existing evidence leads to the belief that the history of Philostorgius was less a fair statement of what he had seen and known than a panegyric upon the heretics of his time.


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