Friday, 3 April 2015

George Bevan: The Sequence of the First Four Sessions of the Council of Chalcedon

In his preparatory work for his edition of the acts of the Council of Chalcedon Eduard Schwartz argued that the sequence of the first four sessions in the oldest Greek version of the acta (versio antiqua) was incorrect and that the sixth century Latin text, assembled, edited and translated by Rusticus (versio antiqua correcta atque a Rustico edita), provided the correct ordering. In a 1971 article (Kleronomia 3, 259-84), E. Chrysos argued that the revised order proposed by Schwartz violates internal the internal evidence of the texts of the sessions themselves, and that the date of the third session needed to be emended. This confusing situation needs to be examined once more, especially in light of the acceptance of Schwartz's sequence in the English translation of the acta of Chalcedon by R. Price and M. Gaddis (Liverpool University Press, 2005). The belief that the oldest Greek text, produced shortly after the council itself, must be corrected on the basis of a Latin translation produced a century later should be revisited. The most elegant solution to the problem is to exchange the dates for the second and third sessions in the Greek manuscript to conform to the logical sequence. By so doing, one is led to rather unsettling conclusions not only about the way in which the imperial commissioners operated to make Dioscorus of Alexandria the sole scapegoat for the actions of the Second Council of Ephesus in 449, but also about the propagandistic function of the acta themselves.

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