Mansi and the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon

I’ve been looking at the volumes of Mansi on the Documenta Catholica Omnia site.  Volume 7 is really of quite poor quality, possibly too poor to use.  I went to look at p.187 to see what it had to say about Theodoret at the Council of Chalcedon, where he was met with suspicion as being a Nestorian and was forced, with great reluctance, to anathematize Nestorius.

The passage is on p.100 of the PDF.  It’s part of the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon; a record of the proceedings.  This is an ancient text about which I knew nothing before now — not even that it existed.  There seem to be Greek and Latin recensions. 

The Mansi volume 9 is even worse, in which I looked for the fragment of the history of Hesychius.  Both seem to derive from the French National Library site which has microfilms online.  We really need some quality copies of Mansi.

Returning to the Acts of Chalcedon, an English translation by Richard Price exists from Liverpool University Press, Translated Texts for Historians, so I suppose that there is no need for me to translate it.  A preview is here.

The dismal nature of the politics of the empire is revealed by this snippet from p.136 of the TTH text:

43. The most devout Egyptian bishops and those with them exclaimed: ‘Theodoret accused Cyril.  We exclude Cyril if we admit Theodoret.  The canons have expelled him.  He is rejected by God.’

44.  The most glorious officials and the exalted senate said: ‘These vulgar outbursts are not becoming to bishops nor useful to either party.  Allow everything to be read.’

45.  The Egyptian bishops and those with them exclaimed: ‘Expel that one man and we shall listen.  Our interjections are for the sake of piety.  We speak on behalf of the orthodox faith.’

46.  The most glorious officials and the exalted senate said: ‘Allow, rather, the hearing to be conducted according to God, and permit everything to be read in order.’

The whole process is followed with accusations of violence, and accusation and counter-accusation, and is of the highest interest as a witness to agora-style democracy under the colour of a church council.

The translators deserve a debt of gratitude for rendering this interesting document into English, dismal though the picture presented is.  The manner in which the florid eloquence of the period is presented to us is likewise very nice to see.

4 thoughts on “Mansi and the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon

  1. p. 70 of the Schwartz edition:

    Οἱ Αἰγύπτιοι καὶ οἱ σὺν αὐτοῖς εὐλαβέστατοι ἐπίσκοποι ἐξεβόησαν· Καὶ Κυρίλλου Θεοδώρητος κατηγόρησεν. Κύριλλον ἐκβάλλομεν, ἐὰν Θεοδώρητον λάβωμεν. οἱ κανόνες τοῦτον ἐξέβαλον. τοῦτον ὁ θεὸς ἀπεστράφη.

    Οἱ ἐνδοξότατοι ἄρχοντες καὶ ἡ ὑπερφυὴς σύγκλητος εἶπον· Αἱ ἐκβοήσεις αἱ δημοτικαὶ οὔτε ἐπισκόποις πρέπουσιν οὔτε τὰ μέρη ὠφελήσουσιν. ἀνάσχεσθε τοίνυν πάντων τὴν ἀνάγνωσιν γενέσθαι.

    Οἱ Αἰγύπτιοι καὶ οἱ σὺν αὐτοῖς εὐλαβέστατοι ἐπίσκοποι ἐξεβόησαν· Τὸν ἕνα ἐκβάλετε, καὶ πάντες ἀκούομεν. δι’ εὐσέβειαν κράζομεν. διὰ τὴν ὀρθόδοξον πίστιν ταῦτα λέγομεν.

    Οἱ ἐνδοξότατοι ἄρχοντες καὶ ἡ ὑπερφυὴς σύγκλητος εἶπον· Μᾶλλον ἀνάσχεσθε κατὰ θεὸν τὴν ἀκρόασιν γενέσθαι καὶ συγχωρήσατε πάντα κατὰ τάξιν ἀναγνωσθῆναι.

  2. Thank you very much indeed for this, Nick (I’ve stuck a tag around it for those on older versions of Windows).

    “officials” = “archontes”, then, which is interesting.

    I don’t really understand the structure of the Schwartz ACO edition, I have to say, even though I have inspected one of the volumes.

  3. I am deeply grateful, but my question is, is Mansi reliable as a reference or a document to proceed with for our works on Chalcedon specially I am now working on translating some articles from English into Arabic, and Mansi is mentioned.

  4. This I do not know. His collection is now very old and pre-critical. I expect that it is often the only edition of what it contains. I would guess that it is reliable as far as it goes, which is probably printing uncritically what he could find in manuscripts and early editions. But modern scholarship would probably qualify his work.

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