Friday, May 18, 2007

Marutha of Maiperqat

Love that internet.

A public benefactor named Roger Pearse has for some time now been posting translations of works by the early "church fathers" (bishops, monks, and other early ecclesiastical writers).

Today I got a note that he's posted an unpublished account of the Council of Nicaea by the obscure writer Marutha of Maiperqat. The Council of Nicaea, A.D. 325, was one of those crucial moments when a diverse, amorphus movement, the Christian churches, tried to define itself as "the Church," by specifying what real Christians believed and condemning all others as heretics (people with false opinions instead of true faith).

Well, of course, this effort and later ones ended up splitting the Christian assemblies (original meaning of ecclesia or "church") into hostile alliances, especially in the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean. The Council of Nicaea, which was called and presided over by Constantine, also provided a precedent for imperial control of the churches and their doctrine (not that this was ever entirely successful).

Now, today, for the very first time ever, you can read one sectarian account of that event, one not widely available for many centuries.

This seems to be a good time to mention that Ramsay MacMullen, a well-known historian of the Roman empire, has published a book called Voting About God in Early Church Councils.
I can't wait to get hold of it.

The Church Fathers at Nicaea.

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Blogger Roger Pearse said...

Many thanks for the reference! I wonder just how many other unpublished translations lie forgotten in drawers and libraries. That one had lain unpublished for over a century.

One note on Nicaea: I remember reading in T.D.Barnes, "Constantine and Eusebius", that C.'s church policy was hamstrung by his refusal to order the bishops around. Just a thought. It certainly wasn't so with Constantius.

9:34 AM  

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