Category Archives: Church orders in genera(l)

Collections of Church Orders

Planned as an addendum to the famous Church Order Conspectus by our host Alistair Stewart, he let me know that he had planned the same thing! So I post this as a start and let him take or leave whatsoever appropriate for his conspectus. For the moment, I only include the collections that comprise several Church Orders.

 

Name: Apostolic Constitutions

Original language: Greek

Extant languages with principal published editions: Greek version edited by Funk 1905 and Metzger 1985-1987; Latin fragment (VIII.41.2 till end) in Fragmentum Veronese LI (49), ed. Turner/Spagnolo 1911-1912; Arabic and Ethiopic translations and adaptions of book I-VI (see Didascalia).

Comprises: book I-VI: Didascalia, VII: Didache, VIII: Peri Charismaton, adaption of Traditio Apostolica, Apostolic Canons (extant in many languages) and other material

Origin: around 380, maybe Antioch

 

Name: Verona Palimpsest LV (53)

Original language: Latin

Extant languages with principal published editions: Latin edition by Hauler 1900 and Tidner 1963.

Comprises: fragments of Didascalia, Apostolic Church Order, Traditio Apostolica

Origin: 5th century

 

Name: Aksumite Collection

Original language: Greek

Extant languages with principal published editions: Ethiopic partially edited by Bausi 2011.

Comprises: Traditio Apostolica, material from CA VIII.

Origin: 5th/6th century

 

Name: Alexandrine Sinodos

Original language: Greek

Extant languages with principal published editions: Sahidic partially edited by Lagarde 1883, Arabic partially edited by Périer/Périer 1912, Ethiopic partially edited by Bausi 1995, Bohairic edited by Tattam 1848.

Comprises: Contents vary, principally Apostolic Church Order and Traditio Apostolica with Apostolic Canons in at least 2 versions. Although these pieces have received most scholarly attention, there is more to be found in SinAlex, s. Hanssens 1965, p. 35-36. Bausis edition comprises also Canones Clementis/Canones Petri, a version of the Canones Addaei and more. Not edited are the canons of the synods, where the pseudo-nicaean canons are to be found.

Origin: after CA, probably 5th/6th century

 

Name: Clementine Octateuch

Original language: Greek?

Extant languages with principal published editions: Syriac version translated by Nau 1912, partially edited by Lagarde 1856. Awaiting edition by Hubert Kaufhold. Arabic version only partially edited, see Riedel 1900, p. 66-74.

Comprises: Testamentum Domini, Apostolic Church Order, Traditio Apostolica and Apostolic Canons.

Origin: Syriac version translated in the late 7th century, Greek original?

 

Name: Kitab al-Huda

Original language: Syriac?

Extant languages with principal published editions: Arabic version edited by Fahed 1935.

Comprises: Pseudo-Nicaean Canons, Praedicatio Johannis Evangelistae, Canones Clementis/Canones Petri, Apostolic Canons, material from CA VIII and more.

Origin: Arabic version translated from Syriac by David anno 1059.

 

This list could be extended forever…

 

Literature:

Bausi, A. 1995: Il Sēnodos etiopico: Canoni pseudoapostolici: Canoni dopo l’Ascensione, Canoni di Simone Cananeo, Canoni apostolici, Lettera di Pietro. 2 Bde. Leiden 1995 (CSCO 552, 553, Scriptores aethiopici 101, 102).

Bausi, A. 2011: La ‘nuova’ versione etiopica della Traditio apostolica: edizione e traduzione preliminare, in: Buzi, P. / Camplani, A. (Hg.): Christianity in Egypt: Literary Production and Intellectual Trends: Studies in Honor of Tito Orlandi.Rome 2011, S. 19-69.

Fahed, P. 1935: Kitab al-huda, ou Livre de la Direction: Code Maronite du Haut Moyen Age, traduction du Syriaque en Arabe par l’evêque Maronite David, l’an 1059. Aleppo 1935.

Funk, F.X. 1905: Didascalia et constitutiones apostolorum. 2 vols. Paderborn 1905.

Hanssens, J.M. 1965: La liturgie d’Hippolyte: ses documents, son titulaire, ses origines et son caractère. Rome 21965.

Hauler, E. 1900: Didascaliae Apostolorum fragmenta Veronensia Latina. Accedunt Canonum qui dicunter Apostolorum et Aegyptiorum reliquiae. Leipzig 1900.

Lagarde, P. 1856: Reliquiae Iuris Ecclesiastici Antiquissimae. Leipzig 1856.

Lagarde, P. 1883: Aegyptiaca. Göttingen 1883.

Metzger, M. 1985-1987: Les constitutions apostoliques. Introd., texte critique, trad. et notes. 3 Vols. Paris 1985-1987 (SC 320, 329, 336).

Nau, F. 1912: La didascalie des douze apôtres, trad. du syriaque pour la première fois. 2e éd. revue et augmentée de la trad. de “La Didachè des douze apôtres”, de la “Didascalie de l’apôtre Addaï et des empêchements de mariage (pseudo) apostoliques”. Paris 21912.

Périer, J. / Périer, A. 1912: Les 127 Canons des Apôtres. Texte arabe an partie inédit, publié et traduit en francais d’après les manuscrits de Paris, de Rome et de Londres. Paris 1912.

Tattam, H. 1848: The Apostolical Constitutions or Canons of the Apostles in Coptic with an English Translation. London 1848.

Tidner, E.: Didascaliae apostolorum, canonum ecclesiasticorum, traditionis apostolicae versiones Latinae. Berlin 1963 (TU 75).

Turner, C.H. / Spagnolo, A. 1911-1912: A Fragment of an Unknown Latin Version of the Apostolic Constitutions. (Book VIII 41-end: Lagarde 274. 26-281. 9.). From a MS in the Chapter Library of Verona LI foll. 139b-146a, in: JTS 13 (1911-1912), S. 492-510.

 

 

 

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The church orders which aren’t church orders

Whilst we await the bibliographical and other expansions which Dr Daniel Vaucher (he was never congratulated on his doctorate here, which is a severe oversight) has promised for the conspectus of church orders, I have fiddled again and removed the following item (though I, or Vaucher if he has a mind to, may put it back!) The conspectus is, after all, living literature.

Name: Didascalia Domini (title in one MS)
Original language: Greek
Extant languages with principal published editions: Greek (Nau (1907))
Relationship with other orders or documents: Echoes in apocalyptic section of other “tours of hell”, in particular Apocalypsis Anastasiae, Apoc. Virginis Mariae.
Notes: Post-resurrection interrogation of Christ by named disciples. Issues re Lent, Wednesday and Friday fasting, clerical discipline, apocalyptic section. Other MS calls it “apostolic constitutions”, but is it even a church-order? Closest relative is Epistula apostolorum!

I suppose I was answering, in the negative,  the question I posed for myself: “Is it even a church order?” What raised this was reading S. Dib, “Note sur deux ouvrages apocryphes arabes intitules ‘Testament de notre-Seigneur” ROC 11 (1906), 427-430. In spite of their titles, neither of these is, by any stretch of the imagination, a church-order, and they have nothing to do with the Testamentum Domini we know and love (sort of!)

Dib provides summaries of each. One is an exhortation to perseverance. The other ends with such an exhortation, but appears to be a strange and novelistic apocalyptic history. Fascinating, undoubtedly, in its own way, but definitely not in our bailliwick.

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Some updates

I have made some (relatively minor) updates to the conspectus of the church orders, published here over a year ago.

This includes (most wonderfully!) a note of some Sogdian fragments of the Doctrina Addaei (making us aware of the extraordinary reach of the church order tradition) and a note of yet another unpublished Arabic version of church order material.

Once again I express the hope that this material may prove useful, and invite all readers to submit corrections and expansions via the comments.

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On pseudonymy and Coptic apocrypha: with thanks again to Alin Suciu

Recently published (and made available online) by the excellent Alin Suciu is his article “The Book of Bartholomew: a Coptic apostolic memoir” Apocrypha 26 (2015), 211-237.

The abstract follows:

The Book of Bartholomew (= Liber Bartholomaei) is one of the best-known apocryphal writings preserved in Coptic. The present article proposes that the text in question belongs to a peculiar genre of Coptic literature : the memoirs of the apostles. This category consists of reports attributed to the apostles concerning various topics, all related to Coptic piety and liturgical life.

Within the article he explains that a major reason for the production of these pseudepigrapha was the aetiology of feasts within the Coptic calendar. He also refers to a statement prefacing a collection of pseudepigrapha attributed to the biblical patriarchs that Athanasius had discovered them among ancient apostolic decrees (nisyntagma narcheos). This, he shows, is a common trope; I have already referred to Suciu’s making me aware of such a statement in the preface to a pseudo-Chrysostomic text, and he details others within his article.

Whereas this is an Egyptian phenomenon, further light is shed on the context of pseudonymous production shared by the church orders. It is also interesting that apostolic sanction is sought for liturgical practice, again a mark of the church orders.

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Church Order Conspectus – matter of definition

After having been added as co-author on the blog, I’d like to reply once more on the matter of defining the church order tradition, and in regards to Stewarts conspectus (see post of January 6th 2016), on which texts we could include in the list and which not.

In my dissertation, I analyze the emergence of the church orders in the context of Church history from its beginning to the early 4th century. I’ll therefore exclude here the Church Orders from the 4th to 5th centuries. I start with the premise that the texts we normally regard as Church Orders (Didache, Traditio Apostolica, Didascalia, Apostolic Church Order) share some features with regards to content. Building on Stewarts working definition, I’d propose five features:

First, the lack of a central authority in the emerging Church. Especially after the death of the Apostles, the communities were in need of a broadly accepted authority, even more so when problems went beyond singular communities or house churches. The authors present themselves as such authorities and their texts as binding for everybody.

Second, the apostolic claim and the pseudonymity. It is clearly a sign that the anonymous authors lacked authority or that they hoped to give their texts more persuasive force this way. It also originates from the fragmentation of the early church in different house communities or schools and the fact that ancient schools tended to construct some kind of lineage.

Third, questions of authority. It is apparent that Church Orders were written in contest with other Christian authorities or leaders, e.g. prophets, patrons, widows. The texts therefore deal with hierarchy and offices to regulate Church life.

Fourth, the process of canonization, which of course is complex, but most of the early Christian texts deal with the question, what is truly Christian? It leads to the formation of a canon and simultaneously, to the construction of heresy and orthodoxy. Most Christian texts deal with integration and demarcation of other doctrines or schools. So do the Church Orders, when they treat heretic literature, false teaching etc.

Fifth, problem-oriented. This is central to my argument. These texts were written to address concrete problems and questions in Christian communities, and therefore, we deal with texts written by Christians for Christians.

It is symptomatic that many modern scholars try to define the Church order tradition but fail to do so. I’m not happy neither! Steimer, Mueller, Metzger and others, in the end, always recur to the content: the attempt to “direct the conduct of Christians and of the church”. What I’d like to propose is that we should see the Church Orders in their early Christian context, and this links them to other Christian texts. There are many more texts that share all or most of the above-mentioned features. (Certainly, not all features are equally present in all texts.) And crucially, I think, some texts are not essentially different from the Church Orders, but are sometimes not called so.

We already named the Pastorals, which are in my opinion a fictional trilogy clearly with Church Order character. I’d propose the letters by the Apostolic fathers in general, although there is more differentiation necessary (we dealt with 1 Clement, but see Alexandre Faivre for reflections on other letters). But what with deutero-Pauline letters like Ephesians, Colossians, the Johannine letters?

Stewart argues that these letters were written only to one community and not to the whole Church. But then, letters were expected to be read out aloud, to circulate in a town, or sometimes to be sent on to other cities and communities (like other letters were written to be publicized, e.g. Pliny, Seneca). What is important in my opinion is that letters were clearly problem-oriented and dealt with actual questions.

The recourse to the apostolic authority is a good point too in my opinion. But where do we find it more explicit than in the deutero-Pauline letters?

Enough for now, I await vigorous opposition.

daniel vaucher

 

 

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Did anyone take notice of the church orders?

Daniel Vaucher has submitted an extensive comment on my conspectus of church orders. This conspectus needs to be updated in several respects, though this may not happen until the fall, as I do not work much in the summer. When I do come to update it, I shall examine his suggestions for additions (apart from Epistula apostolorum and I Clement) (see the comment below.)

Within his comment Vaucher asks:

Would you suggest, then, in opposition to the synodal canons, that Church Orders had no reasonable expectation of being observed? It reminds me of Paul Bradshaws question in his recent book, if anybody took any notice of the Church Orders. Were they really just literary ideal ?
The next one is the classification of the Apostolic canons at the end of CA VIII. It is apparent that they included material from the synods of the 4th century, but nevertheless they were probably written / compiled by the same author as the Apostolic Constitutions. The latter are in my opinion clearly a Church Order. The Apostolic Canons are somewhat in-between, if they consist of canons by individual bishops or actual synods and of material by an anonymous author of the CA. Things get even more complicated in terms of the working definition when we look at the aftermath of the Apostolic Canons. They were included in all the Canonical collections and became actual Canonic Law.

 

I agree entirely that the apostolic canons are church order material, though I treat them as part of the Apostolic constitutions, as I believe that they were compiled by the same author/redactor (as DV agrees.) And he is right, not only do they incorporate material from “real” synods, but they come to be incorporated in canonical collections.

I do treat of this a little in a forthcoming article in RHE on the pseudonymous Antiochene canons included in my conspectus. I take the liberty of quoting myself:

The standard statement in the history of apostolic pseudepigrapha is that such productions cease with the prominence of church councils, which become sources of authority as canon law develops.1 Whatever the truth of that statement, we may note that these “church orders” are preserved in canonical collections alongside other, more historically grounded, councils, such as the west Syrian Synodicon2 and the collection found in Paris Syr. 62, which contains the Didascalia apostolorum and an abbreviated version of Testamentum Domini alongside conciliar canons and documents such as Constantine’s summons to Nicaea. Thus even if the growth of councils and the development of a corpus of canon law led to the end of the production of pseudo-apostolic legislative and liturgical material it also led to the preservation of what had been produced. So these Antiochene canons are found in the Munich MS between African conciliar acts from the time of Cyprian and the eighth book of the Apostolic constitutions, and in the Vallicellan alongside the canons of the local fourth-century councils such as Ancyra and Gangra as well as those of the ecumenical councils. Moreover, even if the growth of conciliar legislation led to the end of the church orders, before it did so it directly affected their form as in the fourth century such pseudepigrapha adopt the form of conciliar canons. Thus we have the Apostolic canons, already mentioned above, and the rewriting of the Hippolytean Traditio apostolica into canon form in the Canones Hippolyti.

1Thus Susan Wessel, “The formation of ecclesiastical law in the early church” in Wilfried Hartmann, Kenneth Pennington (ed.), The history of Byzantine and eastern canon law to 1500 (Washington DC: Catholic University of America, 2012), 1-23 at 23; Heinz Ohme, “Sources of the Greek canon law to the Quinisext Council (691/2): councils and church fathers” in Hartmann and Pennington History, 24-114 at 31; Paul F. Bradshaw, Ancient church orders (JLS 80; Norwich: Hymns Ancient and Modern, 2015), 57-8.

2Ed. Arthur Vööbus, The Synodicon in the west Syrian tradition (Leuven: Peeters, 1975-6).

I think what I am suggesting beyond what is here is that prior to the development of conciliar law the church orders employed apostolic authority as an attempt to persuade. The fact that they were translated, copied and edited implies that they were read and noticed, but that their force was persuasive only. The adaptation of canon form to apostolic pseudonymy is the next step in lending persuasive force to the contents of the orders. The widespread distribution of the apostolic canons indicates that this was successful. Interestingly, moreover, we find the pseudonymous Antiochene canons quoted  by Gregory of Pisinuntum at the second Council of Nicaea, which again indicates that the canon form brought persuasive success. But the provisions of synodal canons could be enforced in the way that those of the church orders could not.

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Is I Clement a church order? In response to Daniel Vaucher

In response to my posting a conspectus of church orders, in an attempt to define the field, Daniel Vaucher has responded in a comment, to which I am responding in a series of posts.

As part of that post I attempted to define the field, offering a definition of a church order as “a literary document which seeks to direct the conduct of Christians and of the church on the basis of an appeal to tradition derived from or mediated through the apostles.”

Vaucher suggests that there is a danger of too broad a definition, and that I am in danger of having to include the post-Pauline letters. He also suggests various other documents which might be included under my definition.

The only grey area for me is I Clement. I do not think that Epistula apostolorum is directive in the way that the orders are and was central to the definition, and to include that in the focus is unhelpful. I do think that we might well include I Timothy and Titus in the conspectus; we may recall Bartsch’s important study here (Die Anfänge urchristlicher Rechtsbildungen. Studien zu den Pastoralbriefen, (Hamburg-Bergstedt : Reich, 1965) and reflect that Johannes Mühlsteiger, Kirchenordnungen: Anfänge kirchlicher Rechtsbildung (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 2006) includes the Pastoral Epistles. I Clement is a grey area in that it certainly seeks to direct the conduct of a church, though not the church in general, and appeals to apostolic authority, even if that authority is not central to its persuasive force. On balance I think I would exclude it on the grounds that it is addressed to one church rather than to churches in the abstract, and on the grounds that apostolic authority, whilst present, is not central. Nonetheless I can see the case for its inclusion.

This is all for today! I must add, for any reader unfamiliar with academic discourse, that my critical comments are the result of gratitude to Vaucher for his attention and contribution. He, of course, knows that.

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