The Acts of the Council of Constantinople of 553

The Acts of the Council of Constantinople of 553 : With Related Texts on the Three Chapters Controversy

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The Council of Constantinople of 553 (often called Constantinople II or the Fifth Ecumenical Council) has been described as 'by far the most problematic of all the councils', because it condemned two of the greatest biblical scholars and commentators of the patristic era - Origen and Theodore of Mopsuestia - and because the pope of the day, Vigilius, first condemned the council and then confirmed its decisions only under duress. The present edition makes accessible to the modern reader the acts of the council, session by session, and the most important related documents, particularly those that reveal the shifting stance of Pope Vigilius, veering between heroic resistance and abject compliance. The accompanying commentary and substantial introduction provide a background narrative of developments since Chalcedon, a full analysis of the policy of the emperor Justinian (who summoned and dominated the council) and of the issues in the debate, and information on the complex history of both the text and the council's reception. The editor argues that the work of the council deserves a more sympathetic evaluation that it has generally received in western Christendom, since it arguably clarified rather than distorted the message of Chalcedon and influenced the whole subsequent tradition of eastern Orthodoxy. In interpreting Chalcedon the conciliar acts provide a fascinating example of how a society - in this case the imperial Church of Byzantium - determines its identity by how it understands its past.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 744 pages
  • 147 x 210 x 40.64mm | 975.22g
  • Liverpool, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 2nd ed.
  • 2 vols
  • 184631836X
  • 9781846318368
  • 528,706

Table of contents

Preface
Abbreviations
GENERAL INTRODUCTION
I. The Road from Chalcedon 451-518
II. The Ecclesiastical Policy of the Emperor Justinian
III. The Trials of Pope Vigilius
IV. The Theology: Problems and Solutions
V. The Three Chapters
1. Theodore of Mopsuestia
2. The Controversial Writings of Theodoret
3. The Letter of Ibas to Mari the Persian
VI. The Reception of the Council
VII. Texts and Versions
LETTERS FROM AFRICA (545-6)
1. Bishop Pontianus to Justinian
2. Ferrandus, Letter 6 to the Deacons of Rome
JUSTINIAN, EDICT ON THE ORTHODOX FAITH (551)
LETTERS BY OR ON POPE VIGILIUS (551-2)
1. Letter of Excommunication to Ascidas and Menas
2. Letter from the Church of Milan to the Frankish Envoys
3. Encyclical Letter, Dum in Sanctae Euphemiae
THE ACTS OF THE COUNCIL OF 553
Session I, 5 May
Session II, 8 May
Session III, 9 May
Session IV, 12 May
Session V, 17 May
VOLUME ONE
TABLE OF CONTENTS
VOLUME TWO
Abbreviations
THE ACTS OF THE COUNCIL OF 553
Session VI, 19 May 3
Session VII, 26 May 72
Session VIII, 2 June 102
VIGILIUS, THE TWO CONSTITUTA (553-4)
1. First Constitutum 141
2. Second Letter to Eutychius of Constantinople 214
3. Second Constitutum 219
APPENDICES
I. The Anti-Origenist Canons (543 and 553)
1. Canons of 543
2. Letter of Justinian to the Council (553)
3. Canons of 553
II. The Attendance and Subscription Lists
MAPS
1. Patriarchates and Provinces
2. The Balkans
3. Western Asia Minor
4. Eastern Asia Minor
5. Syria and Palestine
6. Egypt
7. Italy and Africa
GLOSSARY
BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. Primary Sources
2. Secondary Literature
INDICES
1. Persons in the Texts
2. Documents
3. The Commentary
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Review quote

Price must be congratulated for a translation that will remain indispensable both for historians and for scholars of historical theology. * The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Volume 62/3 * 'Not only impressive from the standpoint of the work it represents, but also useful for historians of the late Antiquity as well as for those interested in the councils of that time.' (Translated from French)
Dominic Moreau, Cristianesimo nella storia Price's extra labour in supplying detailed indices and an up-to-date bibliography makes this volume a valuable aid to research as well as an accessible introduction to the doctrinal and political issues surrounding the Fifth Ecumenical Council.

Kevin Uhalde, Early Medieval Europe 19 (3) There are many amusing and clever asides which make these two volumes not only an important contribution to historical scholarship and research but a pleasure to read.

Lionel Wickham, Journal of Theological Studies
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About Richard Price

Richard Price is Professor Emeritus of the History of Christianity, Heythrop College and Honorary Research Fellow, Royal Holloway, University of London. His many previous publications include The Acts of the Council of Constantinople of 553 (Liverpool 2009), The Acts of the Lateran Synod of 649 (with P. Booth & C. Cubitt, Liverpool 2014), The Acts of the Second Council of Nicaea (Liverpool 2018) and The Council of Ephesus of 431 (with T. Graumann, Liverpool 2020).
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