Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Ordonner la Fraternite. Pouvoir D'innover et Retour a L'ordre Dans l'Eglise Ancienne

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Ordonner la Fraternite. Pouvoir D'innover et Retour a L'ordre Dans l'Eglise Ancienne

Article excerpt

Ordonner la fraternite. Pouvoir d'innover et retour a l'ordre dans l Eglise ancienne. By Alexandre Faivre. (Paris: Les Editions du Cerf. 1992. Pp. 555. 299E)

This book by Alexandre Faivre is a collection of essays and papers on the topic of church institutions and organization in the early centuries, after the apostolic period and up to the end of the fifth century. Much of the material has to do with the critical period between 180 and 260, when the distinction between cleric and lay emerged and became standard, and the role of the episcopacy took the shape that in essence has prevailed up to our time. On this same question of church organization, other essays include a survey of canonicoliturgical resources, the emergence of the notion of the rule of faith, the development of a synodal and conciliar procedure for dealing with problems, the clergy in the writings of Saint Augustine, the place of women in the Church, and the role of lay theologians. Due to the occasional nature of the pieces here gathered together there is a measure of repetition, but on a whole the work is a wellpresented and coherent unit. It is very clearly written. The care shown in the examination of the pertinent literature will no doubt recommend it to the historian, but the clarity of presentation makes its scholarly work readily accessible to the more general reader who wants to know more about the ways in which church institutions developed and took shape.

There are several matters of interest for both historian and theologian. Faivre shows the divergence in the leadership and organization of churches up to the third century, and shows how the episcopal organization came to dominate. He also explains how the notions of cleric and lay, up to that point largely unknown, took firm hold in the third century. …

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