Date of Award
Religious and Theological Studies
Gregory Robbins, Ph.D.
Citation, Eusebius, Greek, Historiography, Natural Language Processing, Polyphony
This dissertation examines ancient historiographic citation methodologies in light of Mikhail Bakhtin’s dichotomy between polyphony and monologization. In particular, this dissertation argues that Eusebius of Caesarea’s Historia ecclesiastica (HE) abandons the monologic citation methodology typical of previous Greek and Hellenistic historiography and introduces a polyphonic citation methodology that influences subsequent late-ancient Christian historiography to varying degrees. Whereas Pre-Eusebian Greek and Hellenistic historiographers typically use citations to support the single authorial consciousness of the historiographer, Eusebius uses citations to counterbalance his own shortcomings as a witness to past events. Eusebius allows his citations to retain their own voice, even when they conflict with his. The result is a narrative that transcends the point of view of any single individual and makes multiple witnesses, including the narrator, available to the reader.
Post-Eusebian late-ancient Christian historiographers exhibit the influence of Eusebius’ innovation, but they are not as intentional as Eusebius in their use of citation methodologies. Many subsequent Christian historiographers use both monologic and polyphonic citation methodologies. Their tendency to follow Eusebius’ practice of citing numerous lengthy citations sometimes emphasizes points of view that oppose the author’s point of view. When an opposing viewpoint surfaces in enough citations, a polyphonic citation methodology emerges. The reader holds the two different narrative strands in tension as the author continues to give voice to opposing viewpoints.
After illustrating the citation methodologies with passages from numerous Greek, Hellenistic, and late ancient Christian historiographers, this dissertation concludes with a short computational analysis that uses natural language processing to reveal some broad trends that highlight the previous findings and suggest a possibility for future research.
Barber, Justin Otto, "Citation Methodologies in Eusebius’ Historia Ecclesiastica and Other Ancient Historiography" (2015). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1009.
Received from ProQuest
Justin Otto Barber
Ancient History, Religious History, Classical Literature