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The Crisis of the Oikoumene
The Three Chapters and the Failed Quest for Unity in the Sixth-Century Mediterranean

C. Chazelle, C. Cubitt (eds.)
XII+304 p., 11 b/w ill. + 1 colour ill., 3 b/w line art, 160 x 240 mm, 2007
ISBN: 978-2-503-51520-5
Languages: English, French, Italian
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Retail price: EUR 70,00 excl. tax
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Online content: http://dx.doi.org/10.1484/M.SEM-EB.6.09070802050003050105020005

This book presents ten chapters by an international group of scholars who examine different facets of the Three Chapters Controversy and its profound impact on these regions.

The sixth-century theological controversy over the 'Three Chapters', which centred on the nature of Christ, provoked one of the most serious and long-lived religious schisms of the early Middle Ages. The fault lines ran not only between the Byzantine imperial court and the papacy, but between Rome and the churches in the former western empire’s successor states. In Italy, the schism endured into the seventh century, and the repercussions were felt long thereafter. Though rooted in the complexities of christological debate, the tensions reveal the growing political as well as cultural divide between Byzantium, Rome, and the West. Thus the controversy is critical for our understanding of the late-antique and early-medieval Mediterranean world, and of the inheritance of empire in western Europe and North Africa. This book presents ten chapters by an international group of scholars who examine different facets of the Three Chapters Controversy and its profound impact on these regions.

Table of Contents

Introduction - Robert A. Markus and Claire Sotinel

The Three Chapters Controversy and the Council of Chalcedon - Richard M. Price

L’Afrique reconquise et les Trois Chapitres - Yves Modéran

The Three Chapters and the Transformations of Italy - Claire Sotinel

Much Ado About Nothing: Gregory the Great’s Apology to the Istrians - Carole Straw

The Three Chapters Controversy and the Biblical Diagrams of Cassiodorus’s Codex Grandior and Institutions - Celia Chazelle

Il regno longobardo in Italia e i Tre Capitoli - Claudio Azzara

The Franks and Papal Theology, 550–660 - Ian Wood

Heresy in Secundus and Paul the Deacon - Walter Pohl

Epilogue - Robert A. Markus and Claire Sotinel


"This collection of paper makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the complex doctrinal disputes of the fifth and sixth centuries, to our understanding of Justinian's policies and to our knowledge of local ecclesiastical politics in the regions covered." (F. K. Haarer, in: The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Volume 60/3, July 2009, p. 556-557)

"There is much to approve, and much to be learned, from this collection of essays. That they are the product of a collective decision to work in parallel on the Three Chapters Controversy in the West towards the production of a book probably explains why, unlike so many collections of conference proceedings, even on a well-defined topic, there is surprising coherence, a lack of repetition, and a consistent high quality here." (P. Gray, in: The Medieval Review, 08.01.21)

Interest Classification:
Religion (including History of Religion) & Theology
Christian Church : Institutional History
Eastern & Orthodox Churches (from c. 312)
Western Church : history & papacy
Medieval & Renaissance History (c.400-1500)
Medieval European history (400-1500) : main subdisciplines
Religious history
Medieval European history (400-1500) : local & regional history
Balkans & Near East
Medieval History (400-1500) : subperiods
Late Antique & Early Middle Ages (c.250-600)

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