The construction of episcopal authority in late antique Gaul: a case study of the role of canon law from the sixth century
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 23:43 authored by Susan Loftus
A number of authorities were transformed in the late antique successor kingdoms of Gaul. The Christian community, Church councils and affairs including episcopal appointments were areas where there was an opportunity for the new kings to participate and to develop their own influence. The connection between the episcopal appointments and a bishop's authority and legitimacy was elementary, however it has not been considered in this period. Therefore the foundational terminology and procedures for episcopal appointments and their connections to the bishop's overall authority and legitimacy are the focus of this thesis. The aims are to examine how the procedures for ecclesiastical appointments were developed through their earliest traditions from other religions and from the Roman institutions. Following a review of the current scholarship and a discussion on the sources, the thesis examines the earliest terminology for leadership appointment in the first Church councils and early Christian writers, followed by a study of the Gallic church councils their role and function in the new successor kingdoms of the Franks, Burgundians and other barbarian dominated areas. The next three chapters analyse the council texts for the terminology of the reference to ordination, election or consecration and compare them to the accounts of such procedures in the other genres. The penultimate chapter considers the ecclesiastical appointments of a family of bishops in the first hundred years of the Frankish period.