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Title: Doctrinal controversy and the Church economy of post-Chalcedon Palestine
Author: Neary, Daniel Paul
ISNI:       0000 0004 7660 8055
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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The Fourth Ecumenical Council, held at Chalcedon in 451, began a period of extraordinary social and political crisis across the Eastern Mediterranean. In Palestine, as elsewhere, the centuries that followed were characterised by internecine conflict between local Christians, persisting until the collapse of Roman authority in the region during the reign of the emperor Heraclius. Since Edward Gibbon, historians have struggled to contextualise this debate, ostensibly an argument between proponents of rival, but also substantially identical, Christologies. This thesis considers what role socio-economic factors may have played in shaping contemporary accounts of the Council's fraught reception. It asks whether this may have distorted our understanding of a defining Late Antique debate. Chalcedon's reforms had wide-reaching consequences, not only for the Empire's official Christological policy, but for the broader structure of the 'Church economy,' the systems through which Christian institutions were financed and maintained, referred to at length in the Council's disciplinary canons. Its rulings held particular significance for Palestine in its status as the Christian 'Holy Land.' Here I explore this facet of Chalcedon's legacy, whilst considering how the language of doctrinal controversy generated by the Council served to frame episodes of material competition between rival communities of clerics and monks. The thesis offers a new reading of the texts produced by key actors in these confrontations, many of which have been historically neglected. It follows in the wake of recent attempts to analyse other religious conflicts of this period in light of contemporary social or political conditions, or through reference to 'networks' of influence and patronage. I apply this methodology to the study of the Palestinian partisans in the antagonism which followed Chalcedon, whilst also drawing upon the archaeologically-grounded study of material culture which has influenced so many other areas of early medieval history.
Supervisor: Sarris, Peter Sponsor: AHRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: History ; Late Antiquity ; Byzantium ; Chalcedon