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Holy Bishops in Late AntiquityThe Nature of Christian Leadership in an Age of Transition$
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Claudia Rapp

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520242968

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520242968.001.0001

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(p.235) Chapter Eight Empire
Holy Bishops in Late Antiquity

Claudia Rapp

University of California Press

This chapter proposes a critical reassessment of Constantine's measures in order to show that they merely confirmed the existing episcopal oversight over practical matters that were considered to be of particular concern to Christians in general. It also reports a comparison of the different manifestations of the parrhēsia of bishops and of holy men with the emperor. It is important to note that Constantine's laws on internal jurisdiction and on the exemption from munera were addressed to clerici or to sacerdotes. It is misleading to interpret Constantine's laws on manumissio in ecclesia as granting general notarial authority to the bishop, or to imply that the bishop was in a position to establish his own access to the realm of secular law. Prominent citizens, bishops, and holy men all acted as advocates for their communities and petitioners before the emperor.

Keywords:   empire, Constantine, Christians, bishops, holy men, parrhēsia, emperor, internal jurisdiction, secular law

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