Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Vom Apostelkonzil Zum Ersten Vatikanum: Studien Zur Geschichte der Konzilsidee

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Vom Apostelkonzil Zum Ersten Vatikanum: Studien Zur Geschichte der Konzilsidee

Article excerpt

Vom Apostelkonzil zum Ersten Vatikanum: Studien zur Geschichte der Konzilsidee. By Hermann Josef Sieben. [Konziliengeschichte, Reihe B: Untersuchungen.] (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schoningh. 1996. Pp. xii, 600.)

Although the author addresses issues covering nearly two millennia, the heart of this book is the study of issues arising in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In the first part, the focus indeed is on the councils of the Apostles and the Elders reported in the Acts of the Apostles and on the great councils of Nicaea, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon. An intriguing aspect of this part is the attention given the legends which grew up around the early councils. Sieben also addresses in this part, as he does throughout the book, the question of the reception of conciliar decrees throughout the Church.

The second and third parts address at length, respectively, the Council of Basel and that of Ferrara-Florence. Here the studies have various points of departure, ranging from the influence of Aristotle on conciliar thought to Greek ideas about the role of a council in the Church. Here too the issue of reception looms large, involving not just disputes among ecclesiastics but the crucial role played by the princes of Europe in the reception of conciliar decrees. (The Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges [1438] is one of the most important among the examples of royal intervention which Sieben examines.)

The fourth part, and much the most interesting to the reviewer, illustrates the continuity of issues debated in the fifteenth century at the Council of Trent and down to the First Vatican Council. …

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