The Acts of Early Church Councils Acts: Production and Character

ISBN : 9780198868170

Thomas Graumann
352 ページ
153 x 234 mm
Oxford Early Christian Studies

The Acts of Early Church Councils Acts examines the acts of ancient church councils as the objects of textual practices, in their editorial shaping, and in their material conditions. It traces the processes of their production, starting from the recording of spoken interventions during a meeting, to the preparation of minutes of individual sessions, to their collection into larger units, their storage and the earliest attempts at their dissemination. Thomas Graumann demonstrates that the preparation of 'paperwork' is central for the bishops' self-presentation and the projection of prevailing conciliar ideologies. The councils' aspirations to legitimacy and authority before real and imagined audiences of the wider church and the empire, and for posterity, fundamentally reside in the relevant textual and bureaucratic processes. Council leaders and administrators also scrutinized and inspected documents and records of previous occasions. From the evidence of such examinations the volume further reconstructs the textual and physical characteristics of ancient conciliar documents and explores the criteria of their assessment. Reading strategies prompted by the features observed from material textual objects handled in council, and the opportunities and limits afforded by the techniques of 'writing-up' conciliar business are analysed. Papyrological evidence and contemporary legal regulations are used to contextualise these efforts. The book thus offers a unique assessment of the production processes, character and the material conditions of council acts that must be the foundation for any historical and theological research into the councils of the ancient church.


Abbreviations and Conventions
Part I: The Quest for Documentation
1 The Earliest Church Councils: A Documentary History
2 'Council Acts' and the Variations of Conciliar Documentation and Recording Patterns
3 The Conference of Carthage (AD 411): An Imperial Model Case
Part II: 'Reading' and 'Using' Acts
4 Examining the Records: Two Inquiries into Eutyches' Trial (AD 449)
5 Original Acts and Documents at Chalcedon (451)
6 'Authentic' Documents: Visual Features, Annotation, and Administrative Handling
7 Assessing and Performing Authenticity: A View from Later Councils
Part III: 'Writing' Acts: The Council's Secretariat in Action
8 All the President's Men: Administrative Aides and the 'Official' Secretariat
9 The Stenographic Protocol: Professionalism, Conventions, and Challenges
10 'Transferring' Shorthand Notes to Long-hand Transcript
Part IV: The Written Record
11 The Hypomnemata: Production and Qualities
12 Documents Incorporated: Incorporating Documents
13 Abstracting and Summary Records
14 Collecting and Appending Signatures
15 The Structure and Elements of the 'Ideal' Session-record and the Role of 'Editing'
Part V: Files, Collections, Editions: Dossierization and Dissemination
16 Council Acts Gathered and Organised: Minutes, Case Files and Collected Records
17 Ancillary Documentation and the Beginnings of Dossierization
18 The Preparation of 'Editions' and the Dissemination of Documentation


Thomas Graumann is Reader in Ancient Christian History and Patristic Studies at the University of Cambridge and Professor for Patristics at the Humboldt University in Berlin.