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In this paper I shall be dealing with episcopal correspondence in Greek and Latin from the fifth and sixth centuries, a topic which has not been investigated in its entirety. Rather the tendency has been to address several authors individually, instead of studying overarching epistolary theories, concerns, or trends. This state of affairs means that if we are to begin to determine the worth and significance of our fifth- and sixth-century episcopal materials, we are thrown back on general works on letter-writing in other periods, on theoretical studies, on books or articles dealing with the specifics of letter-writing in different centuries from classical to mediaeval and Byzantine, and on introductions to anthologies. However, we cannot extrapolate from these other secondary works ad libitum, but rather we must be selective, and open to possible developments from classical antiquity and the Pauline letters onwards. Here I give an overview of literature on the topic, an inventory of the main fifth-and sixth-century episcopal letter-collections, and a brief introduction to a new project being conducted by Bronwen Neil and myself on crisis management in late antiquity as evidenced in the edited Greek and Latin letters of fifth- and sixth-century bishops.


Centre for Biblical and Early Christian Studies

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Journal Article

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