Socrates (of Constantinople)

Church historian


January 1, AD 380
January 1, AD 440


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Born at Constantinople, Socrates (also known as (Socrates Scholasticus) was trained in pagan grammar and rhetoric; then he studied law and became an advocate (scholasticus) in the imperial city. The work for which he is noted, however, lay in the field of historical writing. He undertook to supplement Fusebius's work by treating the period 305 to 439.

Each of his seven books is organized around the reign of an emperor. Much of the later part depends upon his own knowledge and oral tradition. The first-known layman to write church history, he dealt with the secular world as well as the religious. The book is particularly valuable for its extensive quotation of sources. Stylistically his work is not as good as Sozomen's, but critically it is better.

He admired Origen despite criticisms surrounding that name, and he stressed the importance of Greek learning for the church. Socrates has been suspected of Novatianism, and he did insist that it and orthodoxy were brothers. In dogmatic matters he preferred to adore the ineffable mysteries of the faith in silence.

Works About Socrates (of Constantinople)

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