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Ammonius of Alexandria, Eusebius of Caesarea and the Origins of Gospels Scholarship

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 December 2014

Matthew R. Crawford*
Dept of Theology and Religion, Durham University, Abbey House, Palace Green, Durham DH1 3RS, United Kingdom. Email:


In the early third and fourth centuries respectively, Ammonius of Alexandria and Eusebius of Caesarea engaged in cutting-edge research on the relationships among the four canonical gospels. Indeed, these two figures stand at the head of the entire tradition of comparative literary analysis of the gospels. This article provides a more precise account of their contributions, as well as the relationship between the two figures. It argues that Ammonius, who was likely the teacher of Origen, composed the first gospel synopsis by placing similar passages in parallel columns. He gave this work the title Diatessaron-Gospel, referring thereby to the four columns in which his text was laid out. This pioneering piece of scholarship drew upon a long tradition of Alexandrian textual scholarship and likely served as the inspiration for Origen's more famous Hexapla. A little over a century later, Eusebius of Caesarea picked up where Ammonius left off and attempted to accomplish the same goal, albeit using a different and improved method. Using the textual parallels presented in the Diatessaron-Gospel as his ‘raw data’, Eusebius converted these textual units into numbers which he then collated in ten tables, or ‘canons’, standing at the beginning of a gospel book. The resulting cross-reference system, consisting of the Canon Tables as well as sectional enumeration throughout each gospel, allowed the user to find parallels between the gospels, but in such a way that the literary integrity of each of the four was preserved. Moreover, Eusebius also exploited the potential of his invention by including theologically suggestive cross-references, thereby subtly guiding the reader of the fourfold gospel to what might be called a canonical reading of the four.

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1 For a discussion of its inclusion in the seventh edition, see Nestle, E., ‘Die Eusebianische Evangeliensynopse’, Neue kirchliche Zeitschrift 19 (1908) 4051Google Scholar, 93–114, 219–32. The version of Canon Tables printed in subsequent editions, right up to NA28, is unchanged from that of Nestle's seventh edition. Note, however, that Martin Wallraff of the University of Basel is currently preparing a critical edition of the Canon Tables, to be printed in the WUNT series.

2 I use the word ‘scholarly’ to describe the work of Ammonius and Eusebius as a reference to their participation in the wider world of Greek textual learning and investigation, which had its origins in the library and Museum at Alexandria in the third century bce. As noted by Eleanor Dickey, ‘scholarship’ in this sense refers to any type of work concentrating on the words, rather than the ideas, of ancient pagan authors: textual criticism, interpretation, literary criticism of specific passages, grammar, syntax, lexicography, etc.’ (Ancient Greek Scholarship: A Guide to Finding, Reading, and Understanding Scholia, Commentaries, Lexica, and Grammatical Treatises, from their Beginnings to the Byzantine Period, American Philological Association (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007) vii)Google Scholar. See further Nünlist, R., The Ancient Critic at Work: Terms and Concepts of Literary Criticism in Greek Scholia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

3 Eusebius, Carp. (NA28, 89*).

4 Eusebius, HE 6.19.10 (Bardy, G., Eusèbe de Césarée: Histoire ecclésiastique, livres v–vii (SC 41; Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf, 1955) 116Google Scholar). It has been suggested that a passage in Eusebius’ own Demonstratio evangelica draws upon this lost work of Ammonius on Jesus and Moses. Cf. Bruns, J. E., ‘The “Agreement of Moses and Jesus” in the “Demonstratio Evangelica” of Eusebius’, Vigiliae Christianae 31 (1977) 117–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

5 Jerome, De vir. ill. 55. Jerome attributes to this Ammonius two works: De consonantia Moysi et Iesu and the Evangelici canones. The latter work is undoubtedly to be identified with the Diatessaron-Gospel described by Eusebius, though Jerome refers to it by the title of Eusebius' own Canon Tables, probably reflecting a confusion already at this stage over the exact relation of the two works. The fact that Jerome names only these two works of Ammonius may indicate that he has no independent access to them and is entirely dependent on the reports of Zahn, Eusebius. T., ‘Der Exeget Ammonius und andere Ammonii’, Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte 38 (1920) 45Google Scholar, also argued that the same Ammonius was responsible for both works.

6 Zahn, ‘Der Exeget Ammonius’, 4–5. Cf. Heine, R. E., Origen: Scholarship in the Service of the Church (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010) 24–5Google Scholar, who also accepts that the Christian and pagan Ammonii were distinct individuals, and that Eusebius incorrectly attributed the Ammonian Christian writings to the Platonist Ammonius Saccas.

7 Digeser, E. D., A Threat to Public Piety: Christians, Platonists, and the Great Persecution (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2012) 2348CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Digeser argues that scholars have long been misled in thinking there must have been two Ammonii by the mistaken assumption that Christians and philosophers were two separate groups in antiquity. This assertion, however, fails to take seriously the historical arguments brought forward by Mark Edwards for his position (see n. 8 below). Ilaria Ramelli similarly implies that Ammonius Saccas wrote On the Harmony of Moses and Jesus though she does not comment upon the Diatessaron-Gospel (Origen, Patristic Philosophy, and Christian Platonism: Re-Thinking the Christianisation of Hellenism’, Vigiliae Christianae 63 (2009) 226Google Scholar). As supporting evidence she points out that the Middle-Platonist and Neopythagorean philosopher Numenius, though not a Christian, wrote allegorical exegesis of the Old and New Testaments. The debate over the identity of Origen's teacher Ammonius is related to a further debate over whether there were one or two Origens. On the latter view there was a Christian Origen as well as a Platonist Origen who were contemporaries. Ramelli argues for a single Origen (pp. 235–44), while Mark Edwards has argued for the existence of two Origens (see the sources in the following footnote).

8 Edwards, M., ‘Ammonius, Teacher of Origen’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History 44 (1993) 179–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar; id., Origen against Plato (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002) 54–5Google Scholar. Edwards points out that in fact neither Eusebius nor Porphyry in the passage cited by Eusebius asserts that Origen's Ammonius was Ammonius Saccas who taught Plotinus. In contrast, Digeser wishes to identify the Platonist and Peripatetic Ammonii in light of the fact that Ammonius Saccas is said to have harmonised the teachings of Plato and Aristotle (A Threat to Public Piety, 28–30). The debate over whether Origen was taught by the Platonist or Aristotelian Ammonius is, as one would expect, tied to on-going attempts to isolate the philosophical sources for various aspects of Origen's thought, with scholars claiming to have found Platonic, Aristotelian and Stoic elements. I am indebted to clarifying discussions with Mark Edwards and Kellen Plaxco regarding these debates over Origen's Ammonius.

9 These Ammonii are to be distinguished from a later fifth-century exegete with the same name who left behind exegetical fragments in the catena tradition. See further Reuss, J., ‘Der Presbyter Ammonius von Alexandrien und sein Kommentar zum Johannes-Evangelium’, Biblica 44 (1963) 159–70Google Scholar.

10 Edwards, ‘Ammonius, Teacher of Origen’, 174.

11 NA28, 89*. There are two previous English translations of the entire letter. See Oliver, H. H., ‘The Epistle of Eusebius to Carpianus: Textual Tradition and Translation’, NovT 3 (1959) 138–45Google Scholar; Barnes, T. D., Constantine and Eusebius (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981) 121–2Google Scholar. A portion of the letter is also translated in Grafton, A. and Williams, M. H., Christianity and the Transformation of the Book: Origen, Eusebius, and the Library of Caesarea (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar 198. I have usefully consulted these previous translations, but all translations of the letter in this article are my own.

12 So also Zahn, T., Tatian's Diatessaron (Forschungen zur Geschichte des neutestamentlichen Kanons und der altkirchlichen Literatur, Tl. 1; Erlangen: Deichert, 1881)Google Scholar 33 and, again, Zahn, ‘Der Exeget Ammonius’, 6–7, who rightly pointed out that Ammonius made not a gospel harmony, but a gospel synopsis. Confusion over this issue began as early as Victor of Capua in the sixth century, who supposed that the works of Tatian and Ammonius were similar. Zahn perceptively noted that whereas Eusebius uses the verb συντίθημι (‘combine, compose’) in HE 4.29.6 to describe Tatian's composition, he here uses παρατίθημι (‘place alongside’) for Ammonius' undertaking.

13 Similarly, Grafton and Williams, Christianity and the Transformation, 88 argue that Origen, in his Hexapla, probably left his columns empty when he had no text to serve as a parallel.

14 Harnack, A., Geschichte der altchristlichen Litteratur bis Eusebius: Erster Theil (Leipzig: J. C. Hinrich, 1893) 406–7Google Scholar. Harnack was disagreeing with Zahn, Tatian's Diatessaron, 33, who had asserted that Ammonius did not include material from the latter three gospels that lacked a Matthean parallel. However, Zahn later changed his position in ‘Der Exeget Ammonius’, 7, where he suggested that Ammonius left large gaps in his column of text from Matthew to allow the material from the other gospels without Matthean parallels to be displayed appropriately.

15 For a survey of this material, see Underwood, P. A., ‘The Fountain of Life in Manuscripts of the Gospels’, Dumbarton Oaks Papers (1950) 119–22Google Scholar. For further discussion, including an overview of older scholarship on this idea, see Petersen, W. L., Tatian's Diatessaron: Its Creation, Dissemination, Significance, and History in Scholarship (Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 25; Leiden: Brill, 1994) 4951CrossRefGoogle Scholar. As pointed out by Petersen, the fact that Victor of Capua called the gospel harmony in Codex Fuldensis a Diapente rather than a Diatessaron has also given rise to speculation about whether Victor had in mind such musical connotations.

16 Boethius, De institutione arithmetica 2.48. Cf. Ammonius' likely contemporary, the Pyrrhonian Sceptic Sextus Empiricus, who refers in passing to ‘the harmony of the fourth in music’ (ἐν μὲν μουσικῇ τῆς διὰ τεσσάρων συμφωνίας, Adversus mathematicos 1.77).

17 LSJ s.v. διά A.iii.2.

18 Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca historica 17.115.1; Plutarch, Numa 8.8. Cf. Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 14.56 (βρώματα διὰ μέλιτος καὶ γάλακτος γινόμενα).

19 See the images at Grafton and Williams, Christianity and the Transformation, 97, 99.

20 Grafton and Williams, Christianity and the Transformation, 105. Cf. Heine, Origen, 73–6.

21 Rufinus, Historia Ecclesiastica 6.16.4 (Schwartz, E. and Mommsen, T., Eusebius Werke: Zweiter Band (GCS; Leipzig: J. C. Hinrich, 1908) 555Google Scholar). As noted by Grafton and Williams, Christianity and the Transformation, 94–5, although Rufinus' work was a translation of that of Eusebius, he here diverges from his source by giving greater detail.

22 Epiphanius, Panarion 64.3.5–7 (Holl, K. and Dummer, J., Epiphanius, vol. ii (GCS; Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1980) 407–8Google Scholar). The Greek text is also cited, with translation, at Grafton and Williams, Christianity and the Transformation, 92–3, 318 n. 12. I have followed the translation of Grafton and Williams, with some modifications. See also the slightly fuller description given by Epiphanius at De mensuris et ponderibus 510–35, where he again explains the name Hexapla as resulting from the six juxtaposed σελίδες in which the text was presented. The Greek text is cited, with English translation, at Grafton and Williams, Christianity and the Transformation, 318–20 n. 13.

23 So Dickey, Ancient Greek Scholarship, 118, who notes that discussions of spelling ‘normally use the formula διά + genitive’. She gives as an example the phrase διὰ τοῦ α γράφεται which means ‘it is written with an α’. A similar usage of διά may be found in the third-century author Athenaeus (Deipnosophistae 1.8), who commented that Timachidas of Rhodes wrote a treatise on banquets ‘in epic verse (δι’ ἐπῶν) in eleven, or possibly more, books'. Here διά indicates not the source of Timachidas' work, but rather its format or style of composition.

24 Zahn, Tatian's Diatessaron, 34 and ‘Der Exeget Ammonius’, 7–8 also pointed out the similar format between Ammonius' work and the Hexapla though he thought that the Hexapla inspired Ammonius, rather than the other way around, as I am suggesting here; moreover, he did not consider the comparison of the titles of the two works.

25 This compound form may derive from ancient library traditions. The twelfth-century Byzantine scholar Joannes Tzetzes reported that the library of Alexandria consisted of 400,000 ‘mixed books’ (βίβλων συμμιγῶν) and 90,000 ‘unmixed and single books’ (ἁπλῶν δὲ καὶ ἀμιγῶν βίβλων) (Prolegomena de comoedia Aristophanis 2 (Koster, W. J. W., Prolegomena de comoedia: Scholia in Acharnenses, Equites, Nubes (Scholia in Aristophanem 1.1A; Groningen: Bouma, 1975) 2238)Google Scholar), and Plutarch claimed that the libraries of Pergamum contained 200,000 ‘single books’ (βυβλίων ἁπλῶν) (Ant. 58). In these references ἁπλόος seems to mean scrolls containing only a single author, or perhaps only a single work. The compound form ἑξαπλοῦς, then, would imply a work comprising six components.

26 Of course scrolls regularly presented texts as a series of columns. However, the placing of multiple works in parallel columns was highly unusual.

27 Origen, Jo. 5.7 (Blanc, C., Origène: commentaire sur Saint Jean, tome i (livres i–v) (SC 120; Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf, 1966) 386–8Google Scholar).

28 Zahn, ‘Der Exeget Ammonius’, 5–6.

29 The earliest undisputed papyrological evidence for a four-gospel codex is P45, usually dated ca. 250. T. C. Skeat argued that P75, dated to 175–225, once belonged with P64, P67 and P4 and formed a four-gospel codex (Skeat, T. C., ‘The Oldest Manuscript of the Four Gospels?’, NTS 43 (1997) 134CrossRefGoogle Scholar). However, see the response to Skeat's proposal in Head, P. M., ‘Is P4, P64 and P67 the Oldest Manuscript of the Four Gospels? A Response to T. C. Skeat’, NTS 51 (2005) 450–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and a survey of the matter in Hurtado, L. W., The Earliest Christian Artifacts: Manuscripts and Christian Origins (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006) 36–7Google Scholar.

30 At HE 4.29.6 (Bardy, G., Eusèbe de Césarée: Histoire ecclésiastique, livres i–iv (SC 31; Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf, 1951) 214Google Scholar) Eusebius states that Tatian called his work τὸ διὰ τεσσάρων [εὐαγγέλιον]. The εὐαγγέλιον in brackets is an emendation to the text suggested by Petersen, Tatian's Diatessaron, 37, in light of the fact that the word ‘gospel’ appears in both the Latin and Syriac translations of Eusebius' history.

31 Crawford, M. R., ‘Diatessaron, a Misnomer? The Evidence from Ephrem's Commentary’, Early Christianity 4 (2013) 362–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar. The question of how to relate the titles of the two works by Tatian and Ammonius was also addressed by Zahn, Tatian's Diatessaron, 34 and ‘Der Exeget Ammonius’, 5. He correctly points out that such an original title would have been unlikely to have been invented twice independently, so there must be some relation between the two. However, Zahn concluded that the title originated with Tatian and was later copied by Ammonius, whereas I want to argue the reverse, namely that Ammonius first used the title and the later tradition assigned it subsequently to Tatian's work in light of the inherent ambiguity of Tatian's actual title.

32 Neuschäfer, B., Origenes als Philologe (Schweizerische Beiträge zur Altertumswissenschaft 18/1–2; Basel: Friedrich Reinhardt Verlag, 1987)Google Scholar. Cf. Martens, P. W., Origen and Scripture: The Contours of the Exegetical Life (Oxford Early Christian Studies; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012) 2566CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

33 Neuschäfer, Origenes als Philologe, 85–138.

34 Grafton and Williams, Christianity and the Transformation, 131.

35 Eusebius, HE 6.19.12–14 (Bardy, SC 41.116–17).

36 Edwards, ‘Ammonius, Teacher of Origen’, 171. So also Digeser, A Threat to Public Piety, 43–4.

37 Eusebius, HE 6.19.12–14 (Bardy, SC 41.116–17).

38 Porphyry, Vita Plotini 20, 49–57. Cf. Edwards, ‘Ammonius, Teacher of Origen’, 179–80.

39 Edwards also uses Ammonius' gospels scholarship as evidence for ‘the supremacy of the philological method in Alexandria’ (Origen against Plato, 18).

40 On concerns about contradictions and coherence in Homer, see Nünlist, The Ancient Critic at Work, 27–34, 157–64, 174–84. On the appropriation of these scholarly methods for Jewish Bible exegesis, see Niehoff, M. R., Jewish Exegesis and Homeric Scholarship in Alexandria (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar, especially 39–46, 118–29. Digeser, A Threat to Public Piety, 35–7 stresses the concern for ‘harmony’ that characterises Ammonius' work, but she neglects Alexandrian literary scholarship as an important context in which such topics had long been debated.

41 Grafton and Williams, Christianity and the Transformation, 114.

42 See Eusebius' mention of the title of the work at HE 1.1.6; Praep. v. 10.9.11. For a discussion of Eusebius' achievement with this work, see Grafton and Williams, Christianity and the Transformation, 133–177. Also helpful is Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 111–20. The phrase ‘Christian impresario of the codex’ is the title of chapter 4 of Grafton and Williams' book. The textual tradition of Eusebius' Chronicle is complex. While only fragments of the original Greek survive, the second half of the work was translated into Latin and supplemented by Jerome, and the full work survives in Armenian, though with some lacunae.

43 Grafton and Williams, Christianity and the Transformation, 175.

44 This work may be accessed most easily in Wallraff, M., ‘The Canon Tables of the Psalms: An Unknown Work of Eusebius of Caesarea’, Dumbarton Oaks Papers 67 (2014) 114Google Scholar, who helpfully includes colour images of the sole surviving witness to this work, as well as a transcription and translation on pp. 4–7. Wallraff exaggerates somewhat when he describes this as an ‘unknown’ work. As he acknowledges, attention was first drawn to it in Mercati, G., Osservazioni a proemi del Salterio di Origene, Ippolito, Eusebio, Cirillo Alessandrino e altri, con frammenti inediti (Studi e Testi 142; Rome: Città del Vaticano, 1948) 95104Google Scholar. Moreover, Grafton and Williams, Christianity and the Transformation, 198–9 also make mention of the work, as does Rondeau, M.-J., Les commentaires patristiques du Psautier (iiie–ve siècles) (2 vols.; Rome: Pont. Institutum Studiorum Orientalium, 1982–5)Google Scholari.71–2). On the sense of the word πίναξ used in the title see also HE 6.32.3, where Eusebius says that in another work he has provided τοὺς πίνακας listing the works included in the Caesarean library collected under the patronage of his predecessor and mentor Pamphilus.

45 Cassiodorus, Institutiones 1.17.2. Cf. Grafton and Williams, Christianity and the Transformation, 142.

46 Eusebius, De vita Constantini 4.36.2. Nordenfalk, C. A. J., Die spätantiken Kanontafeln (Göteborg: O. Isacsons boktryckeri a.–b., 1938) 50Google Scholar. Nordenfalk notes that E. Schwartz and O. Bardenhewer had previously connected the creation of the canons with Constantine's request.

47 On Constantine's request, see Grafton and Williams, Christianity and the Transformation, 215–21, who tentatively follow the earlier argument of T. C. Skeat that Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus originated in Caesarea in relation to Constantine's request (The Codex Sinaiticus, the Codex Vaticanus and Constantine’, Journal of Theological Studies 50 (1999) 583625CrossRefGoogle Scholar). This view, however, has not convinced many New Testament scholars. Sinaiticus has the marginal notations dividing the text of the gospels into the appropriate sections and canons, but the tables themselves are now lost, or perhaps the manuscript was never completed. Vaticanus contains no trace of the apparatus. Skeat's suggestion (p. 615) that Eusebius abandoned his idea of including Canon Tables out of fear of enraging Constantine with further delay is more than a little speculative.

48 In fact, the name Καρπιανός is extremely rare in the sources, and does not show up at all in A. Jones, H. M. et al. , The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire (3 vols.; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971–92)Google Scholar. According to Thesaurus Linguae Graecae, the only occurrence of the word prior to Eusebius comes in Ptolemy, who gives the name to an otherwise unknown people group living in Sarmatia, near the Vistula river (Geographia 3.5.10). Perhaps slightly more helpful is the fact that the name occurs in later Byzantine sources to refer to a certain district within Constantinople. The chronicler Theophanes the Confessor reports an attack by a mob upon the Emperor Maurice (reigned 582–602) which occurred as the emperor was passing through ‘the quarter of Carpianus’ (ἐν τοῖς Καρπιανοῦ), and a later figure carried the name during the reign of Constantine Pogonatus (reigned 668–85) (Chronographia 283; cf. Janin, R., Constantinople Byzantine: développement urbain et répertoire topographique (Paris: Institut Français d'Études Byzantines, 1950) 342Google Scholar). Given the rarity of the term, it is tempting to connect this district in the imperial capital with the dedicatee of Eusebius' letter, which might substantiate the link with Constantine's request, but to do so necessarily enters the territory of unfounded speculation.

49 NA28, 89*.

50 So also Zahn, Tatian's Diatessaron, 33, who pointed out that Ammonius' work was intended to serve ‘nicht gottesdienstlichen, sondern gelehrten Zwecken’.

51 NA28, 89*.

52 Ibid.

53 E.g. Parker, D. C., An Introduction to the New Testament Manuscripts and their Texts (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008) 316CrossRefGoogle Scholar, who asserts that ‘the paragraphs are properly called the Ammonian Sections, and the numbers themselves the Ammonian Section numbers, they and the table numbers themselves being the Eusebian Numbers’.

54 Burgon, J. W., The Last Twelve Verses of the Gospel According to S. Mark Vindicated against Recent Critical Objectors and Established (London: James Parker and Co., 1871) 304Google Scholar. Burgon goes on forcefully: ‘to reason about the lost work of Ammonius from the Sections of Eusebius (as Tischendorf and the rest habitually do) is an offence against historical Truth which no one who values his critical reputation will probably hereafter venture to commit’ (emphasis original).

55 Ibid., 295–8.

56 Zahn, Tatian's Diatessaron, 31–2 and ‘Der Exeget Ammonius’, 8.

57 Nestle, ‘Die Eusebianische Evangeliensynopse’, 41, disagreeing with the description of the sections in the edition of the Vulgate by Wordsworth and White.

58 Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 122.

59 NA28, 89*.

60 Burgon, The Last Twelve Verses, 127; Zahn, Tatian's Diatessaron, 32; Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 121. Zahn specifies that the only thing Eusebius took from Ammonius was the idea of presenting parallel passages alongside one another.

61 LSJ s.v. ἀφορμή i.2, 3, 4, 5.

62 HE 4.26.5; 5.27.1; 6.43.14 (Bardy, SC 31.209; 41.74, 157).

63 HE 4.11.2; 6.2.7 (Bardy, SC 31.174; 41.84).

64 Sedulius composed a commentary on the entirety of Eusebius' Letter to Carpianus, titled Expositio Eusebii in Decem Canones. The text may be found in Espositio, M., ‘Hiberno-Latin Manuscripts in the Libraries of Switzerland. Part i’, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 28 (London: Williams & Norgate, 1910) 8391Google Scholar. The reference to Eusebius taking over material from Ammonius may be found at §3 (p. 85).

65 As also noted by Nordenfalk, Die spätantiken Kanontafeln, 48.

66 Occasional slips have been identified in McArthur, H. K., ‘Eusebian Sections and Canons’, Catholic Biblical Quarterly 27 (1965) 255–6Google Scholar; Nordenfalk, C., ‘The Eusebian Canon-Tables: Some Textual Problems’, Journal of Theological Studies 35 (1984) 96104CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

67 Wallraff, ‘The Canon Tables of the Psalms’, 14 comes to a similar conclusion, and suggests that Eusebius first used this insight in his Canons for the Psalms before trying it out in a much more complex way in his Canon Tables on the gospels.

68 Though this is not to deny the possibility that Eusebius might also have been influenced by other visual sources that also employed columns and numbers. The Ptolemaic astronomical tables preserved in Vat. gr. 1291, fol. 22r and the famous Roman Calendar of 354 present the closest parallels. See the discussion at Nordenfalk, Die spätantiken Kanontafeln, 117–26. An image of the astronomical tables was also included as plate 5 in Nordenfalk, C., ‘Canon Tables on Papyrus’, Dumbarton Oaks Papers 36 (1982) 2938CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Even the name of the astronomical tables is similar to that of Eusebius' work: Πρόχειροι κανόνες (‘Handy Tables’).

69 See Higbie, C., ‘Divide and Edit: A Brief History of Book Divisions’, Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 105 (2010) 131Google Scholar. Higbie concludes: ‘the most enduring result of Alexandrian scholarship was the book division, which the Alexandrians did not invent, but which they put to good use’ (p. 29). The first author for whom we have evidence of using separate books as a way of structuring a large work was the fourth-century bce historian Ephorus. The later historians Polybius and Diodorus Siculus made even greater use of book divisions. It is, therefore, no surprise that the fourth-century Christian historian Eusebius developed this insight even further.

70 Grafton and Williams, Christianity and the Transformation, 141.

71 McArthur, ‘Eusebian Sections and Canons’, 251 suggested that these combinations were omitted because Eusebius found no parallel sections in the gospels in question. Nordenfalk, ‘Canon Tables on Papyrus’, 30 n .6 objected that there were, in fact, some parallels that would have been suitable for these hypothetical canons, but he was only able to offer a handful of examples.

72 Nordenfalk, Die spätantiken Kanontafeln, 102–3. The Armenian tradition was especially ardent in preserving a total of ten pages for the prefatory Eusebian material. See D. Kouymjian, ‘Armenian Manuscript Illumination in the Formative Period: Text Groups, Eusebian Apparatus, Evangelists’ Portraits', Il Caucaso: cerniera fra culture dal Mediterraneo alla Persia (secoli iv–xi) (Settimane di studio del Centro italiano di studi sull'alto Medioevo 43; Spoleto: Centro italiano di studi sull'alto Medioevo, 1996)Google Scholar 1037. The Syriac and Latin traditions expanded the total number of pages well beyond the original sequence. For a succinct and clear overview of the layout and decoration of Canon Tables in the Greek, Latin and Syriac traditions, summarising much of Nordenfalk's classic work, see Sevrugian, P., ‘Kanontafeln’, Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum, vol. xx (Stuttgart: Hiersemann, 2004) 2842Google Scholar. For further bibliography on the decoration of Canon Tables, see Underwood, ‘The Fountain of Life in Manuscripts of the Gospels’; Klauser, T., ‘Das Ciborium in der älteren christlichen Buchmalerei’, Nachrichten der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Göttingen 7 (1961) 191207Google Scholar; Nordenfalk, C., ‘The Apostolic Canon Tables’, Gazette des Beaux-Arts 105 (1963) 1734Google Scholar; Wessel, K., ‘Kanontafeln’, Reallexikon zur byzantinischen Kunst, vol. iii (Stuttgart: Anton Hiersemann, 1978), 927–68Google Scholar.

73 Nordenfalk, ‘Canon Tables on Papyrus’, 29–30.

74 De laudibus Constantini 6.5, 14 (Heikel, I. A., Eusebius Werke: Erster Band (GCS; Leipzig: J. C. Hinrich, 1902)Google Scholar 207, 210).

75 Sedulius Scottus, Explanationes in praefationes sancti Hieronymi ad evangelia 16 (PL 103.342).

76 McArthur, ‘Eusebian Sections and Canons’, 252–3 concluded from some of these unexpected parallels that ‘Eusebius did not intend his parallels necessarily to represent two or more versions of the same incident or saying’, but was instead intending merely to highlight ‘similar material’. McArthur did not consider, however, whether some of these parallels might have a more theological purpose. On a canonical reading of the fourfold gospel, see especially Watson, F., Gospel Writing: A Canonical Perspective (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2013)Google Scholar chapters 10–11.

77 Bockmuehl, M., Simon Peter in Scripture and Memory: The New Testament Apostle in the Early Church (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012) 155–63Google Scholar.

78 Eusebius, HE 6.14.5–7 (Bardy, SC 41.107). See a discussion of this passage at Watson, Gospel Writing, 432–4.

79 McArthur, ‘Eusebian Sections and Canons’, 253 noted with surprise this parallel and concluded that Eusebius presumably ‘linked these together because they presented the background for the historical figure of Jesus’. Nordenfalk, ‘Canon Tables on Papyrus’, 37 more critically, described this as ‘not one of Eusebius’ most convincing parallels' since the Matthean and Lukan material has been yoked to John ‘in a rather strained way’.

80 See Watson, Gospel Writing, chapter 1.