Claudia Rapp

in Holy Bishops in Late Antiquity

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2005 | ISBN: 9780520242968
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520931411 | DOI:

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This chapter proposes a critical reassessment of Constantine's measures in order to show that they merely confirmed the existing episcopal oversight over practical matters that were considered to be of particular concern to Christians in general. It also reports a comparison of the different manifestations of the parrhēsia of bishops and of holy men with the emperor. It is important to note that Constantine's laws on internal jurisdiction and on the exemption from munera were addressed to clerici or to sacerdotes. It is misleading to interpret Constantine's laws on manumissio in ecclesia as granting general notarial authority to the bishop, or to imply that the bishop was in a position to establish his own access to the realm of secular law. Prominent citizens, bishops, and holy men all acted as advocates for their communities and petitioners before the emperor.

Keywords: empire; Constantine; Christians; bishops; holy men; parrhēsia; emperor; internal jurisdiction; secular law

Chapter.  18550 words. 

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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