Conflict and Negotiation in the Early Church: Letters from Late Antiquity, Translated from the Greek, Latin, and Syriac

by Bronwen Neil and Pauline Allen
Catholic University of America Press, 2020
Cloth: 978-0-8132-3277-5, eISBN: 978-0-8132-3278-2

Recent decades have seen great progress made in scholarship towards understanding the major civic role played by bishops of the eastern and western churches of Late Antiquity. Brownen Neil and Pauline Allen explore and evaluate one aspect of this civic role, the negotiation of religious conflict.

Conflict and Negotiation in the Early Church focuses on the period 500 to 700 CE, one of the least documented periods in the history of the church, but also one of the most formative, whose conflicts resonate still in contemporary Christian communities, especially in the Middle East.

To uncover the hidden history of this period and its theological controversies, Neil and Allen have tapped a little known written source, the letters that were exchanged by bishops, emperors and other civic leaders of the sixth and seventh centuries. This was an era of crisis for the Byzantine empire, at war first with Persia, and then with the Arab forces united under the new faith of Islam. Official letters were used by the churches of Rome and Constantinople to pursue and defend their claims to universal and local authority, a constant source of conflict. As well as the east-west struggle, Christological disagreements with the Syrian church demanded increasing attention from the episcopal and imperial rulers in Constantinople, even as Rome set itself adrift and looked to the West for new allies.

From this troubled period, 1500 letters survive in Greek, Latin, and Syriac. With translations of a number of these, many rendered into English for the first time, Conflict and Negotiation in the Early Church examines the ways in which diplomatic relations between churches were developed, and in some cases hindered or even permanently ruptured, through letter-exchange at the end of Late Antiquity.
Map of the Byzantine Mediterranean, 500–700 CE
1. An Introduction to Ecumenical Conflict (500–700 CE)
An Exploration of the Rhetoric of Ecumenical Conflict
Epistolary Sources on Ecumenical Conflict
Other Sources
Scholarly Methods of Approach to Ecumenical Conflict
The Rhetoric of Primacy
The End of an Ecumenical Era?
Note on the Translations
Timeline of Significant Events
Text 1. Anastasius II of Rome to Emperor Anastasius
Text 2. Dioscorus and Chaeremon to the Roman Legates
Text 3. Symmachus to the Eastern Bishops
Text 4. Hormisdas to Bishops Ennodius and Fortunatus
Text 5. Libellus of Hormisdas
Text 6. Hormisdas to Emperor Anastasius
Text 7. Emperor Justin to Hormisdas
Text 8. Justinian the Comes to Pope Hormisdas
Text 9. John II of Constantinople to Hormisdas
Text 10. Hormisdas to Emperor Justin
Text 11. Second Libellus to Our Ambassadors
Text 12. Hormisdas to Justinian the Illustrious
Text 13. Report to Hormisdas from Dioscorus the Deacon
Text 14. Justinian the Illustrious to Hormisdas
Text 15. Copy of a Report of Epiphanius, Bishop of Constantinople
Text 1. First Letter of Julian to Severus
Text 2. First Letter of Severus to Julian
Text 3. Second Letter of Julian to Severus
Text 4. Second Letter of Severus to Julian
Text 5. Synodical Letter of Theodosius
Text 6. Severus’s Reply to Theodosius’s Synodical Letter
Text 7. Theodosius’s Letter to the Eastern Bishops
Text 8. Letter of Jacob Baradaeus to Conon and Eugenius
Text 9. Letter of Jacob to John, Eunomius, Stephen, and Longinus
Text 10. Letter of the Eastern Bishops to the Bishops in Constantinople
Text 11. Letter of the Anti-Chalcedonian Bishops to the Faithful
Text 1. John IV’s Apology for Pope Honorius
Text 2. Synodical [Letter] of Pope Theodore to Paul, Patriarch of Constantinople
Text 3. Pope Theodore to the Bishops Who Consecrated Paul,Patriarch of Constantinople, on Account of the Ex-Patriarch Phyrrhus
Text 4. Pope Theodore to Emperor Constantine
Text 5. Emperor Constantine to Pope Theodore
Text 6. The African Churches to the Holy Roman Bishop Theodore
Text 7. Pope Martin to the Church of Carthage
Text 8. Pope Martin to John, Bishop of Philadelphia
Text 9. Pope Martin to Bishop Antony of Bacatha
Text 10. Pope Martin to Bishop Theodore of Esbus
Text 11. Pope Martin to George, Archimandrite of the Monastery of Holy Theodosius
Text 12. Pope Martin to Pantaleon, a Cleric in Jerusalem
Text 13. Pope Martin to the Church of Jerusalem and Antioch
Text 14. Pope Martin to the Clergy and Laity of the Church of Thessalonica
Text 15. Pope Leo II to Ervigius, King of Spain
Old Testament Index
New Testament Index
General Index

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