Law and Legality in the Greek East: The Byzantine Canonical Tradition, 381-883

ISBN : 9780198722601

David Wagschal
352 Pages
163 x 241 mm
Pub date
Dec 2014
Oxford Early Christian Studies
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Byzantine church law remains terra incognita to most scholars in the western academy. In this work, David Wagschal provides a fresh examination of this neglected but fascinating world. Confronting the traditional narratives of decline and primitivism that have long discouraged study of the subject, Wagschal argues that a close reading of the central monuments of Byzantine canon law c. 381-883 reveals a much more sophisticated and coherent legal culture than is generally assumed. Engaging in innovative examinations of the physical shape and growth of the canonical corpus, the content of the canonical prologues, the discursive strategies of the canons, and the nature of the earliest forays into systematization, Wagschal invites his readers to reassess their own legal-cultural assumptions as he advances an innovative methodology for understanding this ancient law. Law and Legality in the Greek East explores topics such as compilation, jurisprudence, professionalization, definitions of law, the language of the canons, and the relationship between the civil and ecclesiastical laws. It challenges conventional assumptions about Byzantine law while suggesting many new avenues of research in both late antique and early medieval law, secular and ecclesiastical.


Introduction to the Law and Legality of the Greek East: the Byzantine Canon Law 381-883
1. The Shape of the Law
2. Introducing the Law
3. The Language of the Law
4. Systematizing the Law
Conclusions, problems, prospects
Appendix A: Prefaces and Epilogues to the Byzantine Canonical Collections
Appendix B: Translations

About the author: 

David Wagschal studied medieval history and Byzantine theology at the University of Toronto and St. Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary before embarking upon his doctoral studies at the University of Durham, England in 2005-2010. A former Assistant Professor of Church History and Canon Law at St. Vladimir's Seminary in New York, he has also taught at Trinity College, Toronto School of Theology

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