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Corpus Christianorum
Concilia
The Oecumenical Councils of the Roman Catholic Church
From Trent to Vatican II (1545-1965)

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XI+739 p., 155 x 245 mm, 2009
ISBN: 978-2-503-52528-0
Languages: Latin, English
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As the title suggests, the present edition comprises those texts of the Councils’ decrees which are formally ‘ecumenical’, as well as those decrees of the main ‘general’ Councils, whose authority is recognized by many churches, or else is accredited with such status by Roman tradition. These texts will be presented in four volumes, reflecting and respecting the perspectives of the various Christian traditions. The second volume (publ. 2010) contains the texts of the decrees from Trent to Vatican II (1545-1965).

Tra il 1959 e il 1962, a partire dall’iniziativa dell’Istituto per le Scienze Religiose di Bologna, l’edizione del Conciliorum Oecumenicorum Decreta è stata avviata da un piccolo gruppo di studiosi tra cui Alberigo, Joannou, Leonardi e Prodi, con il prezioso aiuto di Dossetti e Jedin, pubblicata pochi giorni prima dell’apertura del Concilio Vaticano II e presentata al Papa Giovanni XXIII durante una speciale udienza il primo Ottobre 1962.

L’opera comprende i testi dei decreti dei primi sette concili ecumenici, il quarto Concilio di Costantinopoli, i cinque concili Lateranensi, i due concili di Lione, quelli di Vienna, Costanza, Basilea-Firenze, Trento e il Concilio Vaticano I (1870). Una successiva, terza, edizione (1973) ha corretto alcuni testi appartenenti ai primi concili e ha aggiunto i decreti del Vaticano II.

Questo lavoro, che fino dalla sua pubblicazione è stato celebrato ovunque, è stato ripubblicato durante gli anni novanta, con l’aggiunta di traduzioni con testo a fronte in differenti lingue, quali l’Italiano, l’Inglese, il Tedesco, il Francese e il Coreano.

Sviluppi nella ricerca e dibattiti internazionali, in parte generati da questa edizione, hanno reso possibile – se non necessaria – la nascita di una nuova collana, in grado di aiutare studenti e studiosi ad accedere a questi testi pregevoli ed autorevoli in modo nuovo, più diretto, integrato e criticamente avanzato. Come suggerisce il titolo, la presente edizione (Conciliorum Oecumenicorum Generaliumque Decreta) comprende sia i testi dei decreti conciliari che sono formalmente “ecumenici”, sia quelli dei concili generali, la cui autorità è riconosciuta da molte chiese o dalla tradizione Romana: il progetto è di presentare questi testi in 6 volumi, che rispettino e rispecchino le prospettive delle differenti tradizioni cristiane.

Il primo volume, pubblicato nel 2006, contiene i testi dei decreti dal primo Concilio di Nicea (325), fino al secondo Concilio di Nicea (767) e comprende il concilio in Trullo (692), che nelle precedenti edizioni era stato omesso. Il secondo volume, la cui uscita è prevista per il prossimo anno, pubblica i decreti dei due contestati concili di Costantinopoli (869-870 e 879-880) e i concili dell’occidente medievale a partire dal Laterano Primo (1123) al Laterano Quinto (1517), includendo i concili di Pisa (1409), Pavia-Siena (1423) e Basilea dopo il trasferimento a Ferrara, anteriormente tralasciato. Il terzo volume, disponibile da Marzo 2010, comprende i decreti dei concili “Romani” a partire dal concilio di Trento (1545) fino al Vaticano II (1965). Il progetto originario di tre volumi è stato di recente ampliato con un quarto che si occuperà dei concili bizantini e post-bizantini e un quinto relativo ai concili delle Chiese riformate. È previsto anche un sesto volume, che presenti una introduzione generale, una bibliografia dei concili, e gli indici.
Review

The first volume in this new critical edition (COGD) of the

ecumenical and general councils of the Church was published

in 2006 and reviewed in JTS, NS 59 (2008), p. 448. It covered

the first seven councils—Nicaea I in 325 to Nicaea II in 787—

which are recognized as ‘ecumenical councils’ (that is, councils

representing the whole church) by the Orthodox and Roman

Catholic churches and generally by the churches of the

Reformation. The volume also included the council of Trullo

in 692, which is regarded as ecumenical by the Orthodox

church but not normally by the Catholic church. Volume 3 has

now been published, before volume 2, which is still awaited.

This third volume contains the decrees, in their original Latin,

of the three modern councils of the Catholic church: Trent,

Vatican I, and Vatican II. While the study of church councils

is surely to be welcomed, several reservations occur to this

reviewer.

First, there already exists an excellent critical edition of all of

the twenty-one councils—the seven from Nicaea I to Nicaea II,

the ten medieval councils from Lateran I to Lateran V, and

Trent, Vatican I, and Vatican II—which have for long been considered

ecumenical or general councils by the Catholic church:

Conciliorum Oecumenicorum Decreta, ed. G. Alberigo and others

(3rd edn., 1973) (¼ COD). This listing essentially goes back to

the ‘Roman edition’ of the councils, which was authorized by the

papacy and published in four volumes between 1608 and 1612,

to which the first and second Vatican councils were subsequently

added. As for the text of the conciliar decrees, the changes

or improvements in volume 1 of COGD, with respect to COD,

are minimal (as already noted in the review of volume 1 cited

above). With regard to volume 3, the changes are even smaller,

given that authoritative printed versions of the decrees of the

three councils were published by the papacy and these published

versions have wisely been followed in both COD and COGD.

Textual errors or variants (which are relatively minor) are noted

in COGD, but so were they in COD (even if perhaps not so

comprehensively), and other critical and informative footnotes

appear very similar in both editions. The introductions (written

in English) to the three councils have been redone—that by

Melloni for Vatican II is particularly informative—and the bibliographies

have been updated. However, the overall improvements

of volumes 1 and 3 of COGD, with respect to COD, are

small.

Secondly, whereas COD resulted in a number of bilingual versions

in which the original text was accompanied by a vernacular

translation and the bibliographies updated—cf. Decrees of the

Ecumenical Councils, ed. Tanner (1990), for Anglophone readers—

the text of the decrees in COGD is given only in the original

Greek or Latin. For those unfamiliar with the classical

languages, this is a major limitation. There is also a huge diVerence

in price.

The precise contents of volume 2 of COGD have yet to be

revealed, though it has been made clear—surely correctly—that

the ten medieval councils included in COD will be retained. To

include other medieval councils is a delicate issue and needs to

be properly signposted to readers, given the relative longevity

and firmness of the traditional list of ten councils which dates

back to the 1608–12 Roman edition. The councils to be included

in volumes 4 onwards are also still to be announced and here too

the reader may expect the selection to be explained and justified.

The title of COGD indicates a distinction between ecumenical

and general councils, whereas COD described them unilaterally

as ecumenical. The distinction was famously endorsed by pope

Paul VI in 1974 when he spoke of the medieval councils—mentioning

Lyons II by name—as ‘general councils in the western

world’ (concilia generalia in occidentali orbe) rather than as ecumenical

councils (Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 1974, p. 620). The distinction

has major implications for church reunion inasmuch as it

implies the possibility of Catholics re-examining the contents

and status of their medieval and later councils.

 

Journal of Theological Studies, vol 62, no 1, April 2011, pp. 385-386

NORMAN TANNER, Gregorian University, Rome, tanner@unigre.it

Series Branch:
Corpus Christianorum
Corpus Christianorum Texts and Studies
Corpus Christianorum Conciliorum Oecumenicorum Generaliumque Decreta
Interest Classification:
Religion (including History of Religion) & Theology
Christian Church : laity & heterodoxy
Faith and dogmatic issues
Christian Church : Institutional History
Western Church : history & papacy
Classics, Ancient History, Oriental Studies
Latin literature
Humanistic Latin literature
Neo-Latin literature

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