Constitution of Athens

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Constitution of Athens

Constitution of Athens, treatise by Aristotle or a member of his school, written in the late 4th cent. B.C. It was lost until discovered on Egyptian papyrus in 1890. It is a history of the Athenian government and an account of its operation in the time of Aristotle. It is a valuable historical source.


See tr. by H. Rackham (rev. ed. 1961); study by J. H. Day and M. Chambers (1962).

Constitutions, Apostolic

Constitutions, Apostolic, late-4th-century compilation, in eight books, of administrative canons for the clergy and the laity and of guides for worship. They were supposed to be works of the apostles, but actually included the greater part of the Didascalia Apostolorum, a lost Greek treatise of 3d-century origin, most of the Didache, and fragments from Hippolytus and Papias. The work concludes with a collection of 85 moral and liturgical canons known as the “Apostolic Canons,” a portion of which became part of canon law of the Western Church. The work is thought to be of Syrian origin. The whole is a valuable primary source on early church history and practice.
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References in periodicals archive ?
In volume two Whiston offered a translation of the eight books of the Apostolic Constitutions. In volume three he defended the apostolic authenticity of these constitutions.
As early as the fourth-century Apostolic Constitutions, (116) there are clear differences between the ordinations of presbyter and deacon, on the one hand, and those of subdeacon and reader, on the other hand.
However, it is not a substitution for a tradition in which the Spirit was invoked, but an extension of that bipartite paleoanaphoric tradition akin to Apostolic Constitutions 7.25 which also suggested the institution narrative with Didache 9.4.(8)
In this regard three authors merit attention: the pseudoapostolic redactor of the Apostolic Constitutions, Gregory of Elvira, and Nilus of Ancyra.
Thus the general impression given by the treatment of the topic of baptism and anointing in Apostolic Constitutions is of the attempt, not entirely successful, to combine an existing understanding and practice of pre-baptismal anointing with oil with laying on of hands by the Bishop, which saw it as conferring the Spirit, and post-baptismal chrismation with [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] by the Bishop, as the crucial event symbolising the spiritual purification and rebirth of the candidates.
Not that they have always been vindicated by modern scholarship: Whiston maintained an unargued, and by his time outdated, partiality for the authority and antiquity of the Apostolic Constitutions, for example.
He is perhaps the papacy's most prolific writer--author of 14 encyclicals, 42 apostolic letters, 15 apostolic exhortations, 10 apostolic constitutions, hundreds of public addresses, numerous poems, five books and a number of plays--all this in addition to being the most traveled and most influential pope of the modern age.
Also, the dating of Pentecost is problematic: since the late-fourth-century Apostolic Constitutions mentions the feast (5.20.4; 8.33.5), it would seem not to have emerged "only in the fifth century" (100).
Several church orders, including the Epitome of Book VIII of the Apostolic Constitutions, the Canons of Hippolytus, and the Testamentum Domini as well as some Greek fragments clearly attest to the original.
Developments and differences are traced by focusing on various documents such as Apostolic Constitutions VIII, or the homilies of St John Chrysostom, and the East Syrian Expositio Officiorum.
Papal (from apostolic constitutions to allocutions), conciliar (from constitutions to statutes), synodal (from decrees to propositions), and Roman dicasterial (from general decrees to replies) documents afford rich insights not only in the structural and procedural complexities of consecrated life, but also in the development and style of the legal tradition in the Church.