Historical and Textual Problems

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

 Historical and Textual Problems

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The canons of the Council of Serdica have presented three major problems to those who have studied them in modern times: their genuineness, their numbering, and the priority of original composition between the Greek and the Latin texts. Their genuineness, first questioned in 1846, was established by several scholars after considerable debate early in the twentieth century. The numbering of the canons is complicated by the absence of two from the Latin text that are present in the Greek, and two from the Greek text that are found in the Latin, but the various numbering systems that have been employed are, in fact, arbitrary, for the canons were not originally numbered, and in their present form they represent extracts from several flowing discussions. The problem of the priority between the Greek and the Latin is the most difficult to address, for strong arguments have been advanced for the priority of each, with the other being seen as a translation. The solution provided by the present author is that both the Latin and Greek texts originated at the council itself as minutes taken by bilingual scribes, or by scribes assisted by translators.

Keywords: canons; genuineness; Greek text; Latin text; numbering systems; textual priority

Chapter.  4244 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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