Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol I:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Church History of Eusebius.: Chapter XVIII
Chapter XVIII.—The Statue which the Woman with an Issue of Blood erected. 2296
1. Since I have mentioned this city I do not think it proper to omit an account which is worthy of record for posterity. For they say that the woman with an issue of blood, who, as we learn from the sacred Gospel, 2297 received from our Saviour deliverance from her affliction, came from this place, and that her house is shown in the city, and that remarkable memorials of the kindness of the Saviour to her remain there.
2. For there stands upon an elevated stone, by the gates of her house, a brazen image of a woman kneeling, with her hands stretched out, as if she were praying. Opposite this is another upright image of a man, made of the same material, clothed decently in a double cloak, and extending his hand toward the woman. At his feet, beside the statue itself, 2298 is a certain strange plant, which climbs up to the hem of the brazen cloak, and is a remedy for all kinds of diseases.
3. They say that this statue is an image of Jesus. It has remained to our day, so that we ourselves also saw it when we were staying in the city.
4. Nor is it strange that those of the Gentiles who, of old, were benefited by our Saviour, should have done such things, since we have learned also that the likenesses of his apostles Paul and Peter, and of Christ himself, are preserved in paintings, 2299 the ancients being accustomed, as it is likely, according to a habit of the Gentiles, to pay this kind of honor indiscriminately to those regarded by them as deliverers.
This account of the statue erected by the woman with the issue of blood is repeated by many later writers, and Sozomen (H. E. V. 21) and Philostorgius (H. E. VII. 3) inform us that it was destroyed by the Emperor Julian. Gieseler remarks (Eccles. Hist., Harpers ed. I. p. 70), “Judging by the analogy of many coins, the memorial had been erected in honor of an emperor (probably Hadrian), and falsely interpreted by the Christians, perhaps on account of a σωτῆρι or θεῷ appearing in the inscription.” There can be no doubt of Eusebius honesty in the matter, but no less doubt that the statue commemorated something quite different from that which Christian tradition claimed. Upon this whole chapter, see Heinichens Excursus, in Vol. III. p. 698 sq.304:2297
See Matt. ix. 20 sq.304:2298
οὗ παρὰ τοῖς ποσὶν ἐπὶ τῆς στήλης αὐτῆς. This is commonly translated “at his feet, upon the pedestal”; but, as Heinichen remarks, in the excursus referred to just above, the plant can hardly have grown upon the pedestal, and what is more, we have no warrant for translating στήλη “pedestal.” Paulus, in his commentary on Matthew in loco, maintains that Eusebius is speaking only of a representation upon the base of the statue, not of an actual plant. But this interpretation, as Heinichen shows, is quite unwarranted. For the use of ἐπὶ in the sense of “near” or “beside,” we have numerous examples (see the instances given by Heinichen, and also Liddell and Scotts Greek Lexicon, s.v.).304:2299
Eusebius himself, as we learn from his letter to the Empress Constantia Augusta (see above, p. 44), did not approve of the use of images or representations of Christ, on the ground that it tended to idolatry. In consequence of this disapproval he fell into great disrepute in the later image-worshiping Church, his epistle being cited by the iconoclasts at the second Council of Nicæa, in 787, and his orthodoxy being in consequence fiercely attacked by the defenders of image-worship, who dominated the council, and won the day.
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