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A broad consensus exists among modern scholars that the role of the devil in Socrates's ‘Historia Ecclesastica’ is limited and that he explains the origins of religious controversy in terms of human causation. This paper argues that the modern consensus requires revision based on the devil's role in chapter i.22 on Manichaeism and on the correspondences between that chapter and the presentation of heresies elsewhere in the ‘History’. If this interpretation of those correspondences is accepted, it should further nuance perceptions of Socrates's approach to heresies and his reputation for ‘tolerance’, while also highlighting his use of religious polemic.
In the Dialogues of Gregory the Great (590–604), the devil is sometimes given direct speech in which he is shown protesting his innocence. The devil in these stories is frequently interpreted as comical, trivial and somewhat underwhelming. However, when re-read through the lens of Gregory's exegesis of Genesis iii, and his ideas regarding the devil, sin and language, what emerges is that it is the devil's verbal skill and appearance of harmlessness that make him dangerous. This failure to see the devil's words as a deceptive recapitulation of Genesis iii cannot be separated from the Dialogues’ complex historiography.
While Bede did not know the year of Augustine's death, he possessed papal letters which provide sufficient information to deduce it with some confidence. The early epistles from popes which Bede quoted or referred to in the ‘Historia ecclesiastica’ associated journeys by delegations sent by the early Church in Kent to Rome with the request for, and collection of, the pallium for the new bishop of Canterbury. In this light the likely purpose for the otherwise unexplained visit of Mellitus to Rome in 610 becomes clear: he had come to ask Pope Boniface IV for the pallium for Laurence, following the death of Augustine on 26 May 609.
This article explores the political theology of Athanasius' ‘Life of Antony’. It argues that the work is profoundly concerned with the relationship between the Church and the empire, which it treats as a component of the relationship between the Church and the fallen world order. Athanasius explores this issue through Antony, striving to live as a citizen of heaven within the fallen world. Athanasius sees allegiance to earthly authority as problematising allegiance to the heavenly kingdom, which is bound up with a concern for the Christian's identity: the Christian must understand himself and the world in relation to the kingdom of heaven, rather than the earthly kingdom.
This article explores the cult of St Nicholas in later eleventh-century Bari, focusing on its importance to the new Norman rulers in the region as well as to their subjects. While acknowledging the influence of earlier expressions of the cult in Normandy and in Byzantine southern Italy, it argues that for numerous reasons Nicholas was, for Bari, an especially important – and appropriate – intercessor. During these years, which witnessed the translation of the saint from Myra, economic developments, church politics and the demands of the First Crusade merged to render Nicholas an ideal patron for the city.
This study argues that contemporary historical works are an unparalleled source for charting the neglected subject of the implementation and impact in northern Italy of the crusade that was launched against Frederick II in 1240; and that a mostly uncritical acceptance of that crusade became a topos in works by laymen as well as clerics across the region. Above all, those works reveal that, while pro-papal factions are a fixture of scholarship on the Italian cities during the central and late Middle Ages, adherence to the Church actually became an explicit and distinguishing feature of Lombard factions only when the crusade was launched against Frederick II.
This paper reexamines the reform of the cathedral chapter of Sées in 1131. It does so by looking primarily, though not exclusively, at the almost 400 acta – that is, the charters and documents –issued by the bishops of the diocese in the period up to 1220. It shows that this underused material has the potential better to contextualise this key event in the ecclesiastical history of medieval France and radically to improve our understanding of its wider effects. It also looks in detail at the careers of the bishops during this period and shows that these prelates, contrary to popular belief, were often supportive not only of the reform established within their cathedral, but also of the wider Augustinian movement. It concludes by briefly considering what the example of Sées can tell us about the regularisation of cathedral chapters in the Middle Ages.
Although the union between the Latin and Greek Churches was one of Pope Innocent III's career-long ambitions, the limited provisions made by the canons of the Fourth Lateran Council regarding the eastern Churches have led most historians to assume that by the end of his pontificate this matter had been relegated to one of secondary importance and was treated only as an afterthought during the council. By collecting and re-examining the surviving sources, this article shows that considerable time and energy was in fact spent during the council in regulating the affairs of the Churches of former Byzantine lands. The ensuing decisions and legislation formed the basis of the organisation of the Church in much of the Greco-Latin East for at least another three centuries.
Based on one of the few surviving records of marriage cases brought before
ecclesiastical courts in fourteenth-century Portugal, this article offers a rare
glimpse of marriage practice in a small village in a remote corner of Western Europe
and the complex ties that bound its inhabitants and which secular and ecclesiastical
authorities sought to regulate. Clear parallels can be drawn with the patterns of
marriage litigation observed in England and Northern France, but evidence also
suggests that royal legislation played an important part in the resolution of marital
disputes and in the shaping of conjugal behaviour.
This article marks the completion of an online database catalogue of the records of taxation of the medieval and early modern clergy of England and Wales in the ‘E 179’ clerical series at The National Archives. It has two parts: an overview of the history of clerical taxation based upon the database's register of tax grants and an analytical guide to the contents of the series, with references to all key documents. The intention is to stimulate research in this important area of study by providing a blueprint for the future exploitation of this rich seam of neglected records.
The first Bible to be printed in England was produced in 1535 by the royal printer, and with Henry VIII's initial support. It has attracted little scholarly attention. This first extensive examination traces its creation and early reception as witness to the uncertain course of the English Reformation. Its origins reveal a dependency on continental models, which were then modified to create a book carefully placed between conservatism and reform. Priests, scholars, children and crooks left their marks on the Bible, and advanced digital technology exposes unique evidence for the merging of Latin and English in late Henrician liturgy.
That the priests of the Anglo-Saxon royal household functioned as a primitive chancery is a popular and reasonable hypothesis, corroborated both by contemporary continental practice and by the overlap between chancery and chapel evident from the twelfth century to the fourteenth. Evidence for an Anglo-Saxon chancellorship as such, however, remains frustratingly elusive. This paper argues for the existence of a special tier of priests entrusted with the king's reliquary and archive. It examines their role in the royal household, resolving conflicts in the evidence, to argue that the later office of chancellor evolved from their office.
This article demonstrates that from the mid- to late fourteenth century the English clergy pursued a sustained campaign to protect episcopal temporalities from royal seizure by asserting the right of bishops to be judged by their peers in parliament. The most important stage of this movement came in the parliament of January 1352 when the clergy made a case for episcopal exceptionalism in English law. The legal identity of bishops in England underwent a seismic shift and it was conceded that in certain cases a bishop should be judged in accordance with his temporalities rather than his spiritual office.
This article examines early Protestant discussion of the historic puzzle in New Testament study known as the Synoptic Problem, which deals with the potential literary relationship between the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. The subject was addressed by John Calvin, pioneer Reformer, and by the early Lutheran Martin Chemnitz. Calvin made a puissant contribution by constructing the first three-column Gospel harmony. Chemnitz contributed nascent redaction-critical assessments of Matthew's use of Mark. Thus, far from simply being a concern to post-Enlightenment critics (as is often assumed), interest in the Gospel sources was present from the earliest days of the Reformation.
Histories of the modern missionary movement frequently assert that converts were more successful missionaries than Europeans yet details of their work remain sparse. This article examines influential factors in the spread of Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa in two ways. It explores the complex and variable processes through life sketches of the African missionaries, Bernard Mizeki, Leonard Kamungu and Apolo Kivebulaya, who worked with the Anglican mission agencies SPG, UMCA and CMS, respectively. It identifies common elements for further scrutiny including the role of travel, translation and communication, and the development of continental centres of Christianity and the trajectories between them and local hubs of mission activity. The transnational turn of contemporary history is employed and critiqued to scrutinise the relations between the local and global in order to comprehend the appeal of Christianity in the colonial era.
This paper examines the process of radicalisation of Monsignor Ivan Illich during the 1960s, having as its setting Cuernavaca, Mexico – a creative, fluid space where Illich was in contact with Bishop Méndez Arceo, Erich Fromm and Gregorio Lemercier. Illich's writings and the reports from the centres led by him are placed here in context, and it is argued that his encounter with psychoanalysis in Cuernavaca shaped his critique of the Church as an institution. The radicalisation of his concept of the Church reached a high point with the publication of ‘The seamy side of charity’ and ‘The vanishing clergyman’, both in 1967.