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date: 17 January 2021

Socrates Scholasticuslocked

, lawyer
  • Jill Harries


Socrates Scholasticus, lawyer in *Constantinople, continued the Historia Ecclesiastica of *Eusebius from 305 ce to 439, basing his account on documentary and first-hand testimony, as Eusebius had done. Books 1–2, at first dependent on the history of *Rufinus (2) of Aquileia, were revised in the light of Athanasius' writings; Socrates' sources for the eastern Church (he knew little of the west) included documentary collections such as the conciliar Acta assembled by bishop Sabinus of Heraclea in 375, now lost. As a layman, he was relatively indifferent to doctrinal minutiae and had little time for episcopal squabbling. Writing, unlike the early Eusebius, under a Christian empire, Socrates, like *Sozomen, perceived a need to redefine the genre of church history invented by Eusebius by analysing the relationship of ecclesiastical to secular events. His history was the main source for Sozomen and *Theodoret, and the three histories were later edited to form the Latin Historia Tripartita.

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