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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

PHILIP was a native of Side, a city of Pamphylia, which was also the birth-place of Troïlus the sophist, to whom he boasted himself to be nearly related. During his diaconate he was admitted to the privilege of familiar intercourse with John Chrysostom bishop of Constantinople. He was an exceedingly laborious student, and besides making very considerable literary attainments, formed an extensive collection of books in every branch of knowledge. Affecting the Asiatic style, he became the author of many treatises: for he wrote a refutation of the emperor Julian’s works, and compiled a “Christian History,” which he divided into thirty-six books; each of these books occupied several volumes, so that they amounted altogether to nearly one thousand, and the mere argument (or table of contents) of each volume equalled in magnitude the volume itself. In this composition, which he has entitled not an “Ecclesiastic,” but a “Christian History,” he has grouped together abundance of very heterogeneous elements, from the vanity of displaying the versatility of his genius, and the extent of his erudition: for it contains a medley of geometrical theorems, astronomical speculations, arithmetical calculations, and musical principles, with geographical delineations of islands, mountains, forests, and various other matters of little moment. By forcing such irrelevant details into connection with his subject, he has rendered his work a very loose production, useless alike, in my opinion, to the ignorant and the learned; for the illiterate are incapable of appreciating the loftiness of his diction, and such as are really competent to form a just estimate, are disgusted with his wearisome tautology. But let every one exercise his own judgment concerning these books according to his taste. All I have to add is, that he has sadly confounded the chronological order of the transactions he describes: for after having related what took place in the reign of the emperor Theodosius, he immediately goes back to the times of the bishop Athanasius; and this sort of thing is of frequent occurrence. But enough has been said of Philip: we must now mention what happened under the episcopate of Sisinnius.








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