The Emergence of Canonical Legislation

Hamilton Hess

in The Early Development of Canon Law and the Council of Serdica

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780198269755
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601163 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies

 The Emergence of Canonical Legislation

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Although rule making within the local churches probably began during the second and third centuries, no concrete evidence exists for collective enactments among the churches prior to the fourth century. By the early fourth century, conciliar gatherings, formerly focusing at least partially on local issues, had become exclusively episcopal and were generally concerned with interests on the regional level or beyond. Beginning with the Spanish Council of Elvira (c.309), numerous councils and synods in all parts of Christendom produced series of enactments, which by the end of the fourth century came to be called canons. These councils and synods, which are identified in this chapter by place, date, and pertinent information, were held in a variety of locations in the Greek East, one at Seleucia‐Ctesiphon in the Syriac‐speaking church, numerous cities and towns in Roman North Africa, most notably at Carthage, and in Gaul, Italy, and Spain. The chapter concludes with a description of the growing number of collections of canons, East and West, that were made between the mid‐fourth century and the sixth.

Keywords: canon; collections of canons; council; episcopal; rule making; synod

Chapter.  11866 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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