EUSEBIUS OF EMESA : Bishop of Emesa; d. about 360. He came of a noble family of Edessa. Having received his first instruction at Edessa, he went to Palestine, where Eusebius of Cæsarea and Patrophilus of Scythopolis became his teachers. But he soon turned from their allegorical elucidation of Scripture to the exegetical principles of the school of Antioch. From Antioch he went to Alexandria, where he sought to provide the philosophical foundation for his knowledge. He returned to Antioch prior to 340, having already won such a name for himself as exegete and orator that in 341 the Synod of Antioch designated him successor to the deposed Athanasius. Eusebius, however, shrank from the difficulties of this position, and he was made bishop of the small city of Emesa in Phenicia, where he spent the rest of his life. At first the Emesans took offense at his extensive learning, which embraced magic and astrology, and for a short time he was compelled to flee to Laodicea. His biography was written by his friend George of Laodicea. Only a brief extract from this work has been preserved (Socrates, Hist. eccl., ii. 9; Sozomen, Hist. eccl., iii. 6).
Jerome (De vir. ill., xci.) mentions writings of Eusebius against Jews, pagans, and Novatians, besides ten books of commentaries on the Epistle to the Galatians and homilies on the Gospels. Theodoret (Hær., I., xxv. 26) mentions polemical works against Marcionites and Manicheans; and Philoxenus of Mabug (Assemani, Bibliotheca Orientalis, ii. 28) certain discourses and a work on faith, which is possibly the source of the dogmatic fragments preserved in Theodoret's Eranistes (Dial., iii.). Further, some exegetical fragments survive in catenæ (MPG, lxxxvi. 1, pp. 545-562), and a fragment from a Lenten sermon (W. Wright, Catalogue of the Syriac Manuscripts in the British Museum, ii. 837, London, 1871. Thilo (Ueber die Schriften des Eusebius von Alexandrien und des Eusebius von Emisa, Halle, 1832, pp. 64, 79), showed that the first two Latin homilies of those published by Sirmond (Opuscula XIV. Eusebii Pamphili, Paris, 1643) under the name of Eusebius of Cæsarea, directed against Marcellus of Ancyra, are probably by Eusebius of Emesa. On the other hand, the Latin homilies attributed to Eusebius by Gagnaius (Paris, 1547) and Fremy in 1554 (cf. Bibliotheca maxima patrum, 28 vols., Lyons, 1677-1707, vol. vi. 618-622) are works of Western (Gallican) authors.
Meager as the extant fragments of Eusebius are, they attest him to be a writer of no mean ability, and Jerome (l.c.) depreciates him unjustly. He was one of the most influential leaders of the great theologians of Antioch, not only in his manner of exposition, but also in his Christology. He was averse to dogmatic disputations, and saw in verbal strife the main reason for ecclesiastical ruptures. In his tendency to maintain the older incompleteness of dogma against the progress of doctrinal definition he felt himself allied with semi-Arianism whose leaders included most of his friends and teachers.