An Alternative Theory of
the History of Antiquity
"Our people have compared
the chronologies with great accuracy,
and the 'age' of the Sibyl's verses
excludes the view that they are
a post-christian fake."
- Constantine, 325 CE
This article examines some of the "canons" recorded under the Council Laodicea
dated about 363-364 CE, very soon after the death of Emperor Julian. It will
be noted that some of the canons are dealing with prohibitions for the populace,
which elsewhere are termed constricting the conduct of church members. The Council
expressed its decrees in the form of written rules or canons. Among the sixty canons
decreed, the following categories have been analysed:
This article examines ** those relating to the canon and to heretics.
- Maintaining order among bishops, clerics and laypeople (canons 3-5, 11-13, 21-27, 40-44, 56-57)
- Enforcing modest behaviour of clerics and laypeople (4, 27, 30, 36, 53-55)
- ** Regulating approach to heretics (canons 6-10, 31-34, 37), Jews (canons 16, 37-38) and pagans (canon 39)
- Outlawing the keeping of the Saturday sabbath and solemnifying Sunday as the Christian sabbath (canon 29)
- Outlining liturgical practices (canons 14-20, 21-23, 25, 28, 58-59)
- Restrictions during Lent (canons 45, 49-52)
- Admission and instruction of catechumens and neophytes (canons 45-48)
- ** Specifying the Biblical canon (canons 59-60)
Specifications of the New Testament Canon
The 59th canon restricted the readings in church to only
the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments. The
60th canon listed these books, with the New Testament
containing 26 books, omitting the Book of Revelation,
and the Old Testament including the 22 books of the
Hebrew Bible plus the Book of Baruch and the Epistle
The 60th canon is missing from some manuscripts containing
decrees of the council. Some have concluded from this omission
that the canon was added later to specify the extent of the
preceding 59th canon. Cyril of Jerusalem circa 350 produced
a list matching that from the Council of Laodicea.
59. Let no private psalms nor any uncanonical books
be read in church, but only the canonical ones
of the New and Old Testament.
As we can see the 59th canon is concerned with what is not to be read. According to the above many commentators suspect that Canon 60 was added later. This suggests that at that time the orthodox were more concerned over what should not be read than they were concerned over what should be read (to the people, who could not read). This is similar to a "Prohibition Era". The new testament apocrypha were extremely popular renditions and clones and extensions of the canon. They were forbidden to be read. Thou shalt not read the Apocrypha!!
Controlling the Heretics
It is not permitted to heretics to enter
the house of God while they continue in heresy.
Persons converted from heresies, that is,
of the Novatians, Photinians, and Quartodecimans,
whether they were catechumens or communicants among them,
shall not be received until they shall have anathematized
every heresy, and particularly that in which they were held;
and afterwards those who among them were called communicants,
having thoroughly learned the symbols of the faith,
and having been anointed with the holy chrism,
shall so communicate in the holy Mysteries.
Persons converted from the heresy of those who are called Phrygians,
even should they be among those reputed by them as clergymen, and
even should they be called the very chiefest, are with all care
to be both instructed and baptized by the bishops and presbyters
of the Church.
The members of the Church are not allowed to meet in the cemeteries,
nor attend the so-called martyries of any of the heretics, for prayer
or service; but such as so do, if they be communicants, shall be
excommunicated for a time; but if they repent and confess that they
have sinned they shall be received.
The members of the Church shall not indiscriminately
marry their children to heretics.
It is not lawful to make marriages with all [sorts of] heretics,
nor to give our sons and daughters to them; but rather to take
of them, if they promise to become Christians.
It is unlawful to receive the "blessings" of heretics,
for they are rather "follies" than "blessings".
No one shall join in prayers with heretics or schismatics.
No Christian shall forsake the martyrs of Christ, and turn
to false martyrs, that is, to those of the heretics, or those
who formerly were heretics; for they are aliens from God.
Let those, therefore, who go after them, be anathema.
They who are of the priesthood, or of the clergy,
shall not be magicians, enchanters, mathematicians,
or astrologers; nor shall they make what are called
amulets, which are chains for their own souls.
And those who wear such, we command to be
cast out of the Church.
It is not lawful to receive portions
sent from the feasts of Jews or heretics,
nor to feast together with them.
It is not lawful to receive unleavened bread
from the Jews, nor to be partakers of their impiety.
It is not lawful to feast together with the heathen,
and to be partakers of their godlessness.
Let no private psalms nor any uncanonical books
be read in church, but only the canonical ones
of the New and Old Testament.
Extracts from the Codex Theodosianus
The following extracts from the Codex Theodosianus cover the epoch
from the rise of Constantine (312 CE) to the time of the Council of
Laodicea (c.364 CE) in order to provide a selection of some of the
imperial legislation attributable to the christian emperors, Constantine and
his son Constantius.
YEAR The Christian Laws against the Hellenic Priesthood; Codex Theodosianus (313 to 353 CE) ...
313 "Christians shall be exempted from serving as tax collectors and other public duties; replacements shall be found for them.
315 "Any Jew who stones a Jewish convert to Christianity shall be burned, and no one is allowed to join Judaism.
319 "Priests shall be exempted from public service.
320 "Exemptions from tax payments and menial public services are granted to clergy, as well as their wives, children, and acolytes.
321 "If the palace should be struck by lightning, customary consultation of soothsayers may follow."
321 "At death, people shall have the right to leave property to the Church."
321 "Jews are allowed to serve on municipal councils.
323 "Clergy shall not be forced into participating in pagan practices; anyone who forces a clergyman into such an act
may be fined or publicly beaten, depending on his legal status."
326 "There shall be limits on the number of people entering the clergy; people shall not become clerics in order to avoid public service.
326 "Religious privileges are reserved for Christians.
326 "Novatians are not considered pre-condemned, and thus may posses their own church buildings and cemeteries.
329 "Persons entering the clergy in order to avoid public service shall withdraw from the clergy.
330 "Church ministers shall not have to serve as decurions.
330 "Jewish priests shall be exempt from public service.
331 "Priests (Jewish priests) and synagogue rulers are exempt from public service.
333 "Judicial decisions made by bishops are to be upheld. Enforcement is to be the responsibility of the prefect.
If a party to a law suit may request the case to be heard by a bishop rather than a secular judge,
the request is to be granted."
336 "Jews are not allowed to harass Jewish converts to Christianity.
336 "Circumcised slaves are to be freed.
337 "Jews may not own circumcised slaves. Also, Jews may not harass Jewish converts to Christianity.
339 "Women employed by the government as weavers who were lead away by Jews may return to weaving.
339 "Jews may not hold Christian slaves. Jews who circumcise slaves shall be executed.
341 "Sacrifices and superstition are forbidden.
342 "Minor sons of clergy are exempt from public service.
343 "Clergy shall not have to pay new taxes, nor shall they have to quarter strangers, and shall be tax exempt if they start their own business."
346 "Although pagan religious practices are banned, pagan temples are to be preserved because they host plays and circuses.
346 "Pagan temples are to be closed, access to them is denied, and violators may face the death penalty.
349 "Clergy are exempted from all municipal duties, and their sons may continue in the church unless obligated by public service."
352 "Persons who join Judaism from Christianity shall have their property confiscated.
353 "Night-time sacrifices are forbidden.
355 "Bishops shall not have to appear before secular judges; accusations shall be brought before other bishops.
356 "Those guilty of idolatry or pagan sacrifices may be subject to the death penalty.
Julian's GALILAEANS |
Authors of Antiquity |
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