Canon Law and Episcopal Authority: The Canons of Antioch and Serdica (Oxford Theology and Religion Monographs)

Canon Law and Episcopal Authority: The Canons of Antioch and Serdica (Oxford Theology and Religion Monographs)

By: Christopher W. B. Stephens (author)Hardback

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Christopher Stephens focuses on canon law as the starting point for a new interpretation of divisions between East and West in the Church after the death of Constantine the Great. He challenges the common assumption that bishops split between 'Nicenes' and 'non-Nicenes', 'Arians' or 'Eusebians'. Instead, he argues that questions of doctrine took second place to disputes about the status of individual bishops and broader issues of the role of ecclesiastical councils, the nature of episcopal authority, and in particular the supremacy of the bishop of Rome. Canon law allows the author to offer a fresh understanding of the purposes of councils in the East after 337 particularly the famed Dedication Council of 341 and the western meeting of the council of Serdica and the canon law written there, which elevated the bishop of Rome to an authority above all other bishops. Investigating the laws they wrote, the author describes the power struggles taking place in the years following 337 as bishops sought to elevate their status and grasp the opportunity for the absolute form of leadership Constantine had embodied. Combining a close study of the laws and events of this period with broader reflections on the nature of power and authority in the Church and the increasingly important role of canon law, the book offers a fresh narrative of one of the most significant periods in the development of the Church as an institution and of the bishop as a leader.

About Author

Christopher W. B. Stephens studied Theology at Christ Church, Oxford, under the supervision of Mark Edwards. There he began his research into early canon law and doctrine, from which this book emerges. After a number of years leading the research department of the Methodist Church in Britain, Christopher is now Head of Southlands College at the University of Roehampton and Director of the Susanna Wesley Foundation for Ministry, Management and Organisation. Christopher's current academic work combines an ongoing interest in Ecclesiastical History with organisational research programmes to support the contemporary development of faith communities and religious institutions. His other recent publications include resources for those exercising public ministry and research papers on diversity and migration within contemporary Christian communities in Britain.



Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780198732228
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 304
  • ID: 9780198732228
  • weight: 606
  • ISBN10: 0198732228

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