I have started to look again at the canonical material relating to the councils of Africa. What I’m trying to investigate is the material that supposedly defines the canon of scripture. But to do so, I need to understand what I’m dealing with – the sources for the canonical material. I’ve decided that I will have to do a set of pre-planned posts about this, which will be a first. It’s not quite clear to me what I have to say, or how to structure this, so I’ve started to draft them offline in a Word document where I can chop stuff around a bit. It’s quite a task just to organise my thoughts and the material to which I have been exposed.
Bit of information are dribbling in. There is an interesting article at Wikipedia, of all places, on the Collectio Canonum Quesnelliana, a 6th century collection of ancient canon material first published by the Jansenist P. Quesnell. The author “Eltheodigraeardgesece” appears to be genuinely learned, and started to write some articles on ancient canonical collections. The overview is here. I’ve seen worse. Sadly he seems to have stopped editing three years ago.
Today I came across an interesting-sounding book, John Adair & Michael Svigel, Urban Legends of Church History, B&H (2020) – publisher page here. I’ve been spending some time on twitter discouraging the circulation of the dafter-sounding claims about Easter, so I am very aware of the need for such a volume. I’m not entirely sure who this is directed at – possibly some of the fringe sects of American Protestantism – but it can only do good, whoever is intended. If I can get a review copy, I will comment on it.
6 thoughts on “From my diary”
Biblical CanonS: it is useless to look at the African Councils. They became the norm after the fact, once they entered the canon law collections. Juridically the Roman Church declared its Canon only with the Council of Trento (16th c.). In addition, all this is Western / Latin. The Oriental & Eastern Churches had a similar process, but mostly independently from the West. The first Biblical canon that is *mandatory* is by Athanasius of Alexandria, Festal Letter 39 (and he speaks only for and about Egypt). Eusebius (HE) makes a mess and mirrors a different situation.
This is my understanding also, in fact. But interesting to see what the councils actually say.
If you’re not aware, a recent update to the open access Clavis Clavium has brought that platform up to date with its information on councils:
The direct link to the councils listing is:
Sorry – just a follow-up: the African councils are here:
Not sure if that gives any update to what is already printed in the most recent CPL.
Thank you! I had not thought to look there!