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    The Roman Church and papal authority, AD 476-c.600

    Harrington, Peter (2021) The Roman Church and papal authority, AD 476-c.600. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    This thesis examines two sixth-century texts, the first edition of the Liber Pontificalis and the Collectio Avellana, and it analyses forms and patterns of patronage before and after 476to explain how the Roman Church was transformed and how expressions of authority were formulated between 476 and c.600. It identifies the demise of the line of western Roman emperors in 476 and imperial challenges to the Roman Church’s claim to define doctrine, starting in 482,as catalysts for institutional change. The Church developed a number of strategies to manage its position in the changed environment, including the compilation of the two texts. The thesis differs from existing research in that it focuses on the Roman Church as an institution and calls on insights of neo-institutional theory; further, it interprets the Collectio Avellana as a late antique letter collection. The thesis shows that after 476 different components of papal authority of came to the fore. It shows that the editors of the Liber Pontificalis promoted the authority of the bishop of Rome on the condition that he exercised it with the consent of the clergy. It demonstrates that the Collectio Avellana, considered to date to lack a defining purpose, had three: to defend the record of Pope Vigilius (537-55); to track and assert new expressions of papal authority; to opine on Church-Empire relations. Both texts reveal the importance of the Church’s record of orthodoxy and doctrinal primacy to its identity, and the compilers’ attempts to delineate its relationship with secular rulers. The analysis of patronage demonstrates that the institution gained in coherence as the bishop of Rome became its main donor, and that, from an early stage, popes established its boundaries, and that they extended the patronal offering by sponsoring new saints’ cults.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2021 14:51
    Last Modified: 04 Oct 2021 14:51


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