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From: "James Wynn" 
Subject: (urth) Wolfe and Eusebius
Date: Tue, 11 Jun 2002 11:25:14 -0500

The recent talk about Chadwick's "History of the Early Church" made me think
of another Church history book that I'm convinced is sitting on Wolfe's
shelf at this moment:
Eusebius' "Historia Ecclesiastica" ("History of the Church") which he
started writing around 308 AD. Eusebius was the bishop of Caesarea in
Palestine and drew partly from the 700+ works in the library there. He
served in that region most of his adult life before Constantine's victory.

A search of the Urth lists revealed that it has already been shown here that
Severian's name comes from a later name of the Encratites (a 2nd century
Gnostic sect). But I didn't see anyone note that the varied and ingenious
tortures of Christians in Gaul under Marcus Aurelius (Book 6) leads one to
think of the Torturers Guild. Nor has anyone mentioned that Tatian, the
Encratite's founder, wrote a composite of the gospels entitled "Diatesaron"
meaning "THROUGH THE FOUR". So maybe when Tor said they wanted to break up
the novel THIS was a reason Wolfe decided to break it into four novels
rather than the traditional three?

The Gnostic doctrines of "Aeons" also bring to mind the universes and
successive histories leading to the Hieros.

Just for completeness sake, I'll post what Eusebius says of the original
Severians and what Irenaeus said of the Encratites:

Irenaeus ("Against the Heresies" Book I, chap. 28)
Springing from Saturninus and Marcion, those who are called Encratites
(self-controlled) preached against marriage, thus setting aside the original
creation of God, and indirectly blaming Him who made the male and female for
the propagation of the human race. Some of those reckoned among them have
also introduced abstinence from animal food, thus proving themselves
ungrateful to God, who formed all things. They deny, too, the salvation of
him who was first created (Adam). It is but lately, however, that this
opinion has been invented among them. A certain man named Tatian first
introduced the blasphemy. He was a disciple of St. Justin the Martyr's, and
as long as he continued with him he expressed no such views; but after his
martyrdom he separated from the Church, and, excited and puffed up by the
thought of being a teacher, as if he were superior to others, he composed
his own peculiar type of doctrine. He invented a system of certain invisible
Aeons, like the followers of Valentinus; while, like Marcion and Saturninus,
he declared that marriage was nothing else than corruption and fornication.
But his denial of Adam's salvation was an opinion due entirely to himself.

Eusebius ("Historia Ecclesiastica" Book 4.29, translation by G.A.
"But a little while later a man called Severus lent his weight to this sect,
and in consequence it's members have come to be called Severians after him.
They make use of the Law, the Prophets, and the Gospels, interpreting in
their own peculiar fashion the ideas contained in the Holy Writ, but they
ridicule Paul the Apostle, setting aside his epistles, and reject even the
"Acts of the Apostles". Their old leader Tatian produced a composite work by
somehow combining the gospels, and called it the "Diatesaron": some people
still possess copies. It is said that he was bold enough to alter some of
the Apostles' expressions as though trying to rectify their phraseology. He
has left a great many works, of which the one most generally familiar is his
famous essay 'The Greeks Answered', in which he discusses primitive times,
showing that all the eminent writers of Greece belong to a much later period
than Moses and the Hebrew prophets. This essay is, I think, the best and
most helpful of all his writings."

- Crush


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