Add to bookbag
Title: Canons of the Apostles
Original Title: Canons des Apôtres
Volume and Page: Vol. 2 (1752), p. 605
Author: Edme-François Mallet (biography)
Translator: Susan Emanuel [s.emanuel@rcn.com]
Original Version (ARTFL): Link
Rights/Permissions:

This text is protected by copyright and may be linked to without seeking permission. Please see http://quod.lib.umich.edu/d/did/terms.html for information on reproduction.

URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.did2222.0000.571
Citation (MLA): Mallet, Edme-François. "Canons of the Apostles." The Encyclopedia of Diderot & d'Alembert Collaborative Translation Project. Translated by Susan Emanuel. Ann Arbor: Michigan Publishing, University of Michigan Library, 2011. Web. [fill in today's date in the form 18 Apr. 2009 and remove square brackets]. <http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.did2222.0000.571>. Trans. of "Canons des Apôtres," Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, vol. 2. Paris, 1752.
Citation (Chicago): Mallet, Edme-François. "Canons of the Apostles." The Encyclopedia of Diderot & d'Alembert Collaborative Translation Project. Translated by Susan Emanuel. Ann Arbor: Michigan Publishing, University of Michigan Library, 2011. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.did2222.0000.571 (accessed [fill in today's date in the form April 18, 2009 and remove square brackets]). Originally published as "Canons des Apôtres," Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, 2:605 (Paris, 1752).

Canons of the Apostles is the name for a kind of collection of canons or ecclesiastical laws that are attributed to Pope St. Clement, disciple of Saint Peter, as if he had received it from this prince of apostles. But even the Greeks were not certain that the canons had been made by the apostles and gathered under their names by St. Clement; they were content to say that there were canons, λεομνοι τῶν ἀῶοσλῶν, that are called by the apostles ; and apparently they are the work of several bishops of the East, who toward the middle of the 3 rd century assembled into a corpus the laws that were in use in the churches of their countries, and of which a part might have been introduced by tradition since the time of the apostles, and the other part by particular councils. There is some difficulty about both the number and authority of these canons . The Greeks usually counted the first 50 like we do, but they added others, in most of which there are articles that do not conform to discipline or even to the credence of the Latin Church; for this reason it rejects the 35 last canons , as being mostly inserted or falsified by heretics and schismatics. With respect to the authority of these canons , the Pope Gelasius in a council held in Rome in 494, put the book of these canons of Apostles among the apocrypha, after Pope Damasius, who seems to have been the first to determine which books were to be accepted or rejected. Before him Denys le Petit had begun his code of ecclesiastical canons with these fifty canons . Gratien, in the same round, reports that Isidore had a change of heart and, contradicting himself, put above the councils these canons of apostles , as approved by most of the Fathers and received among the canonic constitutions; and adds that Pope Adrian I approved the canons by accepting the fourth council where they were inserted: but one might say that Gratien was wrong and he took the second council in trullo , that the Greeks often call the fourth council what was the first council held in trullo , which is really the sixth ecumenical or general council. As for Isidore, the first passage is by Isidore of Seville, and the second is Isidore mercator or peccator , according to the remark by Antoine Augustin, Bishop of Tarragona, who says in order to reconcile these various opinions that one has to follow the opinion of Leo IX, which is that there are fifty of these canons of apostles which have been accepted, and that the others have no authority in the Western Church at all. It is certain that these canons are not by the apostles, but they appear very ancient and have been cited by the ancients under the name of ancient canons, canons of the Fathers , ecclesiastical canons . If they are sometimes called or titled apostolic canons , this is not to say that they are by the apostles, but it suffices that some of them were made by the bishops who lived shortly after the apostles, and who are called apostolic men . The author of the Apostolic Constitutions is the first to attribute these canons to the Apostles. They contain the rules that suited the discipline of the second and third century of the Church; they are cited in the Councils of Nicea, Antioch, Constantinople, and by several ancients. We do not know when this collection of canons was made; it may have taken place over various times; not only the fifty first ones, but the 35 latter ones, are very old; the Greeks always accepted them; John of Antioch, who lived in the time of Justinian, cites them in his sixth novella; they were approved in the synod in trullo and praised by John of Damascus and by Photius. Among the Latins they have not always had the same fate: Cardinal Humbert rejected them; Gelasius put them among the apocryphal books; Denys le Petit translated the first fifty and put them at the head of his collection, although remarking that some people did not want to recognize them; it is perhaps for this reason that Martin de Brague did not enter them into his collection; but Isidore had no difficulty putting them in his; and since then they are always part of the Canon Law . When they appeared in France they were esteemed, and quoted for the first time in the cause of the Pretextat in the time of King Chilperic and were deferred to. Hincmar testifies that they were at the head of a collection of canons made by the Church of France, and thought them ancient although they were not by the Apostles. See Beveregius, in Defense of the code of canons of the primitive church , Daillé, Pseud. epigraphis. Dupin, Dissertations préliminiares sur la Bible, chap. iii. Doujat , Hist. du Droit .