"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Monday, March 26, 2012

Byzantine Canon Law

Study of Eastern canon law lags considerably behind Western law, so it is heartening to see the publication this month of Wilfried Hartmann and Kenneth Pennington, eds., The History of Byzantine and Eastern Canon Law to 1500 (History of Medieval Canon Law) (CUA Press, 2012), 400pp. 

About this book the publisher, Catholic University of America Press, tells us:
This newest volume in the History of Medieval Canon Law series surveys the history of Byzantine and Eastern canon law. Beginning in the Patristic Age, Susan Wessel outlines the evolution of ecclesiastical law before the Council of Nicaea (325 A.D.). She covers the earliest documents and councils in the Christian tradition, and concludes that the councils replaced other sources of authority as bishops moved to a more democratic model of church organization.Heinz Ohme then offers a detailed analysis of the Greek councils and the writings of the Greek Fathers. He treats the sources of canonical material of Byzantine canon law down to the Quinisext Council (Trullanum, 692). Spyros Troianos presents a comprehensive survey of the Greek canonical collections and their compilers from the fourth to the eleventh century. In extending his coverage to 1500, Troianos provides bibliographical and biographical information about the most important Byzantine canonists who remain virtually unknown in English language literature: John Zonaras, Alexios Aristenos, and the Byzantine Gratian, Theodore Balsamon.With Hubert Kaufhold's contribution, the book also explores the wide range and variety of law in Eastern Christian communities, including Western Syrians (Jacobites), the Copts, Ethiopians, Armenians, Georgians, Nestorians, and Maronites.
About the Editors: Wilfried Hartmann is emeritus professor of the medieval history of canon law at the University of Tübingen. Kenneth Pennington is Kelly-Quinn Professor of Ecclesiastical and Legal History at the Catholic University of America. He is the author of numerous works including Pope and Bishops: Study of the Papal Monarchy in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries (The Middle Ages) and The Prince and the Law, 1200-1600: Sovereignty and Rights in the Western Legal Tradition (A Centennial Book)Hartmann and Pennington are coeditors of the History of Medieval Canon Law series.

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