Preparation for the Gospel (Greek: ? , Euangelik? proparaskeu?), commonly known by its Latin title Praeparatio evangelica, was a work of Christian apologetics written by Eusebius in the early part of the fourth century AD. It was begun about the year 313, and attempts to prove the excellence of Christianity over pagan religions and philosophies. It was dedicated to Bishop Theodotus of Laodicea.
The Praeparatio consists of fifteen books completely preserved. Eusebius considered it an introduction to Christianity for pagans, but its value for many later readers is more because Eusebius included information from historians and philosophers not preserved elsewhere. Much of what Eusebius reports about philosophy he copied from the works of the Peripatetic philosopher Aristocles of Messene.
Among the most important of these otherwise lost works are:
This work was used by Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463-1494) as a resource for his well-known oration A Speech by Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Prince of Concord.
The first Latin translation of the Praeparatio was made by George of Trebizond and printed at Venice by Nicolaus Jenson in 1470. The Jesuit François Viger also translated the text into Latin for his edition with commentary of 1628.
The term also denotes an early church doctrine, praeparatio evangelica, meaning a preparation of the gospel among cultures yet to hear of the message of Christ. "[Early Christians] argued that God had already sowed the older cultures with ideas and themes that would grow to fruition once they were interpreted in a fully Christian context." Eusebius' own Praeparatio Evangelica does not adopt the common notion (which occurs at least as early as Clement of Alexandria) of Greek philosophy as a "preparation for the Gospel." Eusebius instead offers a lengthy argument for the wisdom of the ancient Hebrews becoming a preparation for Greek philosophy (at least Platonic philosophy, see Praep.ev. 11-13). For Eusebius, the Greeks stole any truths they possessed from the "more ancient" Hebrews.