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Philostorgius (Greek: Φιλοστόργιος; 368 – c. 439 AD) was an Anomoean Church historian of the 4th and 5th centuries. Anomoeanism was an extreme form of Arianism, denying the orthodox Trinitarian account of the relationship between God the Father and Christ the Logos and arguing the two are of entirely different essences. This view was considered heretical by the Church, which adopted the term homoousion, "coessential" or "consubstantial", to describe the relation between Father and Son in the Nicene Creed as a shared singular divinity.

Very little information about his life is available. He was born in Borissus, Cappadocia to Eulampia and Carterius,[1] and lived in Constantinople from the age of twenty. He is said to have come from an Arian family, and in Constantinople soon attached himself to Eunomius, who receives a lot of praise from Philostorgius in his work.

He wrote a history of the Arian controversy titled Church History (Ἐκκλησιαστικὴ ἱστορία). Philostorgius' original appeared between 425 and 433, in other words, slightly earlier than the History of Socrates of Constantinople, and was formed in twelve volumes bound in two books. The original is now lost. However, one copy was found by the ninth-century historian Photius, in his library in Constantinople, who wrote an epitome of it. Others also borrowed from Philostorgius, most notably the author of the Artemii Passio (Artemius being a legendary martyr under Julian the Apostate), and so, despite the eventual disappearance of the original text, it is possible to form some idea of what it contained by reviewing the epitome and other references.[2] This reconstruction of what might have been in the text was first published, in German, by the Belgian philologist Joseph Bidez in 1913; a third, revised edition of his work undertaken by Friedhelm Winkelmann was published in 1981; this edition has recently been translated into English by Philip R. Amidon.

He also wrote a treatise against Porphyry, which is lost.[3]



  1. ^ Philostorgius, in Photius, Epitome of the Ecclesiastical History of Philostorgius, book 9, chapter 9.
  2. ^ Philostorgius Church History, editor and translator Philip R. Amidon, S.J. (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2007), xxi
  3. ^ Philostorgius, in Photius, Epitome of the Ecclesiastical History of Philostorgius, book 10, chapter 10.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bruno Bleckmann, "Apokalypse und kosmische Katastrophen: Das Bild der theodosianischen Dynastie beim Kirchenhistoriker Philostorg," in Brandes, Wolfram / Schmieder, Felicitas (hg), Endzeiten. Eschatologie in den monotheistischen Weltreligionen (Berlin, de Gruyter, 2008) (Millennium-Studien / Millennium Studies / Studien zu Kultur und Geschichte des ersten Jahrtausends n. Chr. / Studies in the Culture and History of the First Millennium C.E., 16), 13–40.

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