The Son is truly Son : the Trinitarian and christological theology of Eusebius of Caesarea

  • Adam Renberg

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (PhD)


This project explores the theological framework of Eusebius of Caesarea, focusing specifically on his understanding of the Son of God. Therein, it proposes and utilizes a unique lens to view the bishop—according to his exegetical strategies and his explicitly theological works. In doing so, Eusebius’ primary understanding of the nature and role of the second person of the Trinity comes to the fore: the ‘Son is Truly Son.’ That is to say, biblical personalism dictates his understanding of the persons in the Godhead. This is discussed in several facets of his thought. First, the Son’s natural relation to the Father is seen to be both the distinguishing mark and the source of divine unity, according to Eusebius’ framework for the Trinity. Second, his cosmological system demonstrates Eusebius’ emphasis on the Son’s unique nature as the image of the invisible God, the only one able to reveal the apophatic Father to creation. Third, his soteriology emphasizes biblical personalism through Christ’s salvific work, as Christ is the teacher of the true religion and the Father—only the Son knows and is able to ‘image’ him. Finally, Eusebius’ theology of the incarnation emphasizes the unitive nature of Christ, in which the Son of God is likewise the Son of Man. Throughout, this project employs unique patristic interlocuters, underutilized Eusebian texts and paratextual devises, and the debate with Marcellus to demonstrate how his theological framework is within—and shapes—eastern theology, particularly from Origen to the Cappadocians. It also nuances and qualifies past assessments on some of Eusebius’ suspect theology, particularly on his eternal subordinationism and Christology. Throughout, it is apparent that Eusebius is an important transmitter of Origenian theology and a foundational thinker for the later fourth and early fifth century.
Date of Award2 Dec 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorMark Warwick Elliott (Supervisor)

Access Status

  • Full text embargoed until
  • 26th June 2023

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