Canons 29-36 of the breviarium of the Council of Hippo (393)

Let’s have a few more canons.

29.  Ut nulli episcopi vel clerici in ecclesia conviventur; nisi forte transeuntes hospitiorum necessitate illic reficiant; populi etiam ab huiusmodi conviviis, quantum potest fieri, prohibeantur.

That none of the bishops or clergy shall dine together in the church; except perhaps those travelling may refresh themselves in that place through the necessity of being guests**; the people shall also be prohibited from meals of this sort, as much as possible.

“hospitiorum”, literally “of hospitalities”?

30.  Ut paenitentibus secundum differentiam peccatorum episcopi arbitrio paenitentiae tempora decernantur.  Et ut presbyteri inconsulto episcopo non reconcilient paenitentes; nisi absentia episcopi, & necessitate cogente.  Cuiuscumque autem paenitentis publicum et vulgatissimum crimen est, quod universam ecclesiam commoverit**, ante apsidam manus ei imponatur.

That, for penitents, the durations of the penitences shall be decided by the decision of the bishop according to the different kinds of sins/sinners.  And that presbyters shall not reconcile penitents without consulting the bishop; except in the absence of the bishop (and) from urgent necessity.**  But wherever the offence of the penitent is public and very widely known, so that it affronted the whole church, hands shall be laid on him in front of the apse (of the church).**

“commoverit” is “noverit” in Mansi, “known.”  “from urgent necessity” is an ablative absolute present, lit. “when necessity is compelling”.  “in front of the apse”, i.e. in full view of everyone.

31. Ut virgines sacrae, cum parentibus a quibus custodiebantur privatae fuerint, episcopi vel presbyteri, ubi episcopus absens est, providentia gravioribus feminis commendentur; aut simul habitantes invicem se custodiant: ne passim vagando ecclesiae laedant existimationem.

That the holy consecrated virgins, when they have been separated from the parents by whom they used to be watched over, [then] bishops or presbyters, where the bishop is absent, shall be entrusted with providing** for these important women shall be entrusted by the providence of the bishop (or presbyter, if the bishop is absent) to more dignified women; or likewise the inhabitants in turn shall watch over themselves: lest by wandering in many places they may injure the reputation of the church.

Treating “providentia” as an accusative present participle of “provideo”, taking the dative.

32.  Ut aegrotantes, si pro se respondere non possint, cum voluntatis eorum testimonium sui** periculo proprio dixerint, baptizentur.

That the sick shall be baptised, if they are unable to answer for themselves, when their own people declare** (that there is), in particular danger, evidence of their wish.

Mansi gives “possunt” rather than “possint.”

“sui” gave me quite a bit of trouble, but all the variants seem to understand it as a nominative.  So I treat it as a nominative plural “their own [people]”, and the subject of “dixerint”, treated as subjunctive here “shall say”, because of “cum” meaning “when”.  This understanding is supported by Mansi’s text variant here, “hi qui sui sunt”, “those who are of them”.  Then I assume that some part of “esse” should be understood, followed by “testimonium”, “evidence”.  I’m not quite sure about why “periculo proprio”, either dative or ablative.

33. Ut scenicis vel apostaticis conversis vel reversis ad Dominum gratia vel reconciliatio non negetur.

That grace or reconciliation shall not be denied to actors or apostates converted or reverted to God.

Actors enjoy a poor reputation, I see.

34.  Ut presbyter non consulto episcopo virgines non consecret; crisma vero numquam conficiat.

That a presbyter shall not consecrate virgins without consulting the bishop; indeed he shall never sanctify** the chrism.**

“conficio” is used by Niemeyer “to accomplish the sacrifice of the mass”; Blaise as “consecrate”.  Usually it would be “prepare”.  Chrism is consecrated oil used for anointing during baptism.

35. Ut clerici in aliena civitate non immorentur, nisi causas eorum justas episcopus loci vel presbyteri locorum perviderint.

That clergy shall not linger in a strange town, unless the bishop of the place or the presbyters of the places have been overseeing** their justified lawsuits.

“perviderint” is future perfect active indicative, “shall have overseen”, so a paraphrase seems right here.

The next canon gets quoted a lot.

36.  Ut praeter scripturas canonicas nihil in ecclesia legatur sub nomine divinarum scripturarum.

Sunt autem canonicae scripturae: Genesis. Exodus. Leviticus. Numeri. Deuteronomium. Jesu Nave. Judicum. Ruth. Regnorum libri iiii. Paralipomenon libri ii. Job. Psalterium. Salomonis libri v. liber xii Prophetarum Minorum. Item Isaias. Hieremias. Ezechiel. Danihel. Tobias. Judith. Esther. Esdrae libri ii. Machabeorum libri ii.

Novi autem testamenti: Evangelia libri iiii. Actus Apostolorum liber i. Pauli apostoli epistolae xiiii. Petri ii. Johannis iii. Jude i. Jacobi i. Apocalipsis Johannis.

Ita ut de confirmando isto canone transmarina ecclesia consulatur.

Liceat etiam legi passiones martyrum, cum anniversarii dies eorum celebrantur.

That, other than the canonical scriptures, nothing shall be read in church under the name of the divine scriptures.

Moreover these are the canonical scriptures: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 4 books of Kings, Chronicles 2 books, Job, Psalms, 5 books of Solomon, 12 books of minor prophets.  Likewise Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Tobit, Judith, Esther, 2 books of Ezra, 2 books of Maccabees.

Moreover of the New Testament: Gospels 4 books, Acts of the Apostles 1 book, Letters of the Apostle Paul 14, 2 of Peter, 3 of John, 1 of Jude, 1 of James, the Apocalypse of John.

Thus that the overseas church shall be consulted concerning confirming** this canon.

“confirmando” is a gerundive, requiring to be confirmed, “concerning this canon that needs to be confirmed”.

Only one more (long) canon to go.

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2 thoughts on “Canons 29-36 of the breviarium of the Council of Hippo (393)

  1. I read #31 differently, with ‘episcopi/persbyteri’ as genitive, depending on abl. ‘providentia’: “that the holy [or perhaps better, “consecrated”] virgins shall be entrusted by the providence of the bishop (or presbyter, if the bishop is absent) to more dignified women” – that is, to senior virgins. The grammar is much more simple, and it makes sense that the bishops themselves don’t take charge of the virgins after consecrating them.

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