The Ecclesiastical History (Google eBook)

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NuVision Publications, LLC, Jan 1, 2004 - Religion
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This particular doctrinal history begins with Constantine and his conversion to Christianity. The transmutation of his beliefs begins in the first chapter as he relates the sight of the words "By This Conquer" beside a figure of a cross fashioned from a pillar of light in the sky. Constantine asks others in his company if they noticed anything, and they made a declaration of the same vision. Later the next night Constantine heard Jesus speak to him of the furtherance of Christian principle and divine purpose. Scholasticus' history proceeds with the ancestral line of kings, priests, bishops, and popes. Their doctrinal and political influence is recorded throught the ages and balanced against a more religiously primitive populace. What takes place in the church from this time on is dynamic and forceful. The spectacular events recounted from personal documents are startlingly pervasive as the history continues to Scholasticus' present day. Please Note: This book is easy to read in true text, not scanned images that can sometimes be difficult to decipher. The Microsoft eBook has a contents page linked to the chapter headings for easy navigation. The Adobe eBook has bookmarks at chapter headings and is printable up to two full copies per year. Both versions are text searchable.

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About the author (2004)

Socrates of Athens developed to a high degree the method of dialectic, not only to refute the Sophists, but also mainly to advance the thesis that universal standards exist. He wrote nothing---his teaching were entirely oral---but he influenced many in his lifetime and those who came after him. Socrates introduced a new, personal approach to philosophy. "Know thyself" was his motto. Socrates was born just a decade after the decisive naval battle of Salamis. He grew up during the Periclean Age and lived through the Peloponnesian Wars. His endurance, valor, and loyalty to his friends are described in detail by Plato (see also Vol. 3) and Xenophon. He associated with many of the leading members of the Periclean circle and attempted to train several of the youth in political responsibility although he himself shunned a political career. His criticism of public views and policies led to his indictment, and in 399 he was put to death on the charge of corrupting the youth and introducing new deities. To the last day, Socrates continued his quest for the examined life; he spent the morning hours with his followers, discussing the nature of the soul and the meaning of immortality. Plato wrote four dialogues in which Socrates in the chief speaker, and these are known as the Socratic dialogues. The Euthyphro discusses holiness and piety; the Apology is Socrates' defense before his judges; Crito is Socrates's answer to a proposal that he attempt escape from jail; Phaedo is the story of how Socrates drank the hemlock and died. Socrates's pupils took their clues from the master's method, using his ethical teachings to work out their own theories. The Megarian school, founded by Euclid of Megara (450--374), adopted the Eleatic philosophy of the Unity of Being and asserted that there can be but one virtue. It demands that the good good be understood as the essence of all things and that nothing else is real being. The other two schools followed different features of Socrates's teachings about the good life. Thus the Cyrenaic school, founded by Aristippus (c.435) at Cyrene, emphasized the pleasure of the intellectual quest, making it the good. The thesis held firmly together until Hegesias, a later member, showed that the doctrine leads to pessimism, because the pleasure of absolute knowledge as the highest good remains forever beyond our grasp. The Cynics, a school founded by Aristippus of Athens (445--360) and later led by Diogenes of Sinope (412--323), overstated the Socratic views and made virtue identical with knowledge, to be pursued without interest in pleasures. Because the Cynic position on virtue was bound to exaggerate freedom, it came to preach an extreme practice of abstinence and indifference toward possessions; in fact, it cultivated contempt toward civilized modes and advocated a return to nature. The Cyrenaic view eventually led to the philosophy of Epicurus, whereas the Cynic position of "virtue for virtue's sake" later was taken over by the Stoics.

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