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Holy Bishops in Late Antiquity: The Nature…
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Holy Bishops in Late Antiquity: The Nature of Christian Leadership in an…

by Claudia Rapp

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This book is an eye-opener. It is news to me, and I am very pleased with it, that even after the Constantinian transformation of the Church, it remained necessary for bishops to authenticate themselves, as their pre-Constantinian predecessors had done, in terms not of power, but of ascetic or spiritual integrity. It suggests to me that there is scope in the face of cultural and social shifts around us today for Churches to salvage some plausible sense of themselves other than as agents of 'establishment', and that it need not be in vain for any of us - whether or not a bishop - to aspire to a self-understanding which is primarily moral or spiritual, rather than institutional. I'm not sure that I hear many bishops saying this, however. ( )
  readawayjay | Feb 11, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0520242963, Hardcover)

Between 300 and 600, Christianity experienced a momentous change from persecuted cult to state religion. One of the consequences of this shift was the evolution of the role of the bishop—as the highest Church official in his city—from model Christian to model citizen. Claudia Rapp's exceptionally learned, innovative, and groundbreaking work traces this transition with a twofold aim: to deemphasize the reign of the emperor Constantine, which has traditionally been regarded as a watershed in the development of the Church as an institution, and to bring to the fore the continued importance of the religious underpinnings of the bishop's role as civic leader.

Rapp rejects Max Weber’s categories of “charismatic” versus “institutional” authority that have traditionally been used to distinguish the nature of episcopal authority from that of the ascetic and holy man. Instead she proposes a model of spiritual authority, ascetic authority and pragmatic authority, in which a bishop’s visible asceticism is taken as evidence of his spiritual powers and at the same time provides the justification for his public role. In clear and graceful prose, Rapp provides a wholly fresh analysis of the changing dynamics of social mobility as played out in episcopal appointments.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:30 -0400)

Between 300 and 600, Christianity experienced a momentous change from persecuted cult to state religion. One of the consequences of this shift was the evolution of the role of the bishop--as the highest Church official in his city--from model Christian to model citizen. Claudia Rapp's exceptionally learned, innovative, and groundbreaking work traces this transition with a twofold aim: to deemphasize the reign of the emperor Constantine, which has traditionally been regarded as a watershed in the development of the Church as an institution, and to bring to the fore the continued importance of the religious underpinnings of the bishop's role as civic leader. Rapp rejects Max Weber's categories of "charismatic" versus "institutional" authority that have traditionally been used to distinguish the nature of episcopal authority from that of the ascetic and holy man. Instead she proposes a model of spiritual authority, ascetic authority and pragmatic authority, in which a bishop's visible asceticism is taken as evidence of his spiritual powers and at the same time provides the justification for his public role. In clear and graceful prose, Rapp provides a wholly fresh analysis of the changing dynamics of social mobility as played out in episcopal appointments.… (more)

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