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Title: The Date of Gangra and a Point of Comparison Between Basil's Small and Great Asketikon
Contributor(s): Silvas, AM (author)
Publication Date: 2006
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Abstract: Sometime in the mid 4th century a synod of bishops convened in Gangra, the metropolis of Paphlagonia, to discuss what should be the Church's approach to certain exaggerations of ascetic enthusiasm, especially the disparagement of marriage. Clearly this was a perennially useful topic, since the canons of this local council found their way into the earliest strata of the canon law of the Church, both East and West. With regard to dating, it is a point worth noting that most of the ancient collections place the canons of Gangra canons immediately before those of the 'Dedication' Council of Antioch in 341.Nevertheless, the dating of Gangra has been subject to some debate, because the opening salutation of its prefatory letter lists the thirteen participating bishops without their sees, leaving their identification somewhat problematic. Scholars such as Tillemont, Maran, Gwatkin, Leclercq and Gribomont placed the Council in about 340. On this traditional view the first named bishop is understood to be Eusebius of Nicomedia, then bishop of Constantinople, who died late in 341; the Eulalius would the very father of that Eustathius whose ascetic followers were censured by the council. It is noteworthy that three of the signatories have the same names as bishops who attended the council of Sardica in 343, whose sees are known: Bithynicus of Zela in Pontus, Philetus of Juliopolis (western Galatia) and Proaeresius of Sinope north on the Black Sea The Gregory is unlikely to be Gregory the Elder, father of Gregory Nazianzen, since Nazianzus was well to the south in lower Cappadocia, whereas the geographic conspectus of the council seems to be the broad sweep of northern Anatolia.There are, I believe, good and even new arguments that support the dating of Gangra to about 340/341, but they may not all be pursued here. For the present I confine myself to an argument proposed by Paul Fedwick, in his 1980 Chronology. He considered that Gangra should be dated late, in the 360s or even the 370s, because, he alleged, evidence of the correctives of the Eustathians' excesses appears only in Basil's Great Asketikon (from the 370s) and not in the first edition, the Small Asketikon (dating from the mid to late 360s).
Publication Type: Conference Publication
Conference Name: 14th International Conference on Patristic Studies, Oxford, 2003
Conference Details: 14th International Conference on Patristic Studies, Oxford, 2003
Source of Publication: Studia Patristica, Vol. XLI - Orientalia, Clement, Origen, Arthansius, The Cappadocians, Chrysostom: Papers Presented at the Fourteenth International Conference on Patristic Studies, p. 409-413
Publisher: Peeters Publishers
Place of Publication: Leuven-Paris-Dudley
Field of Research (FOR): 220401 Christian Studies (incl Biblical Studies and Church History)
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: E1 Refereed Scholarly Conference Publication
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