Studies on the Melitian Schism in Egypt (AD 306–335): 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Studies on the Melitian Schism in Egypt (AD 306–335)

1st Edition

By Hans Hauben, edited by Peter Van Nuffelen


294 pages

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The Melitian schism originated in the context of the Diocletianic persecution. In 306, under dramatic circumstances, Melitius of Lycopolis decided to challenge his superior, the bishop of Alexandria. An attempt at reconciliation proposed by the Council of Nicaea (325) was unsuccessful, and the Melitians, as they were now called, often associated with the Arians, would become favourite targets of a bitter and polemical Athanasius of Alexandria (328-373). The schism continued to exist in Egypt until the middle of the eighth century. Notwithstanding the rich source material, including original documents and papyri, the dissidence has received relatively little scholarly attention. This collection of essays by Hans Hauben focuses on the well-documented earliest phase of the schism, from the persecution to the Synod of Tyre (335). It elucidates the chronology of the schism, the decisions of Nicaea, the internal organisation of the parallel church, and the tensions in Alexandria caused by its repression, as well as interpretative problems posed by the sources. The essays constitute an in-depth assessment of the causes, development and meaning of the Melitian schism, and together with additional, related studies also included in the volume they paint a rich picture of early Christian society.


'Taken together, the articles in this volume offer both a treasure trove and a springboard for further research, and provide fitting testimony to Hans Hauben’s invaluable contribution to Melitian and Athanasian studies.' Journal of Theological Studies 'The initiative for this collection is attributed to Hauben's former student, Peter Van Nuffelen, to whom thanks are due not only for supporting this very useful volume, but also for the volume's introduction. His introduction provides a very useful historical overview of the schism, an account of the sources for it, and an appraisal of the status quaestionis. A fulsome bibliography is appended… The treatments collected in this volume are essential reading for all those who deal with the Melitian schism, and late antique Egyptian Christianity in general, and their assembly into this one convenient and highly useful volume is most welcome.' The Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction: the Melitian schism: development, sources, and interpretation, Peter van Nuffelen; Part 1 Studies on the Melitian Schism: On the Melitians in P. London VI (p. Jews) 1914: the problem of papas Heraiscus; La réordination du clergé mélitien imposée par le Concile de Nicée; La première année du schisme mélitien (305/306); Le catalogue mélitien réexaminée; Jean Arkhaph, évêque de Memphis, dans la catalogue mélitien; Review of Le lettere festali di Atanasio di Alessandria. Studio storico-critico by A. Camplani; The Melitian 'Church of the Martyrs'. Christian dissenters in Ancient Egypt; John Arkhaph and 'the Bishop' (Athan., Apol. sec.71.6). A reassessment; Das Konzil von Nicaea (325) zur Wiederaufnahme der Melitianer. Versuch einer Text- und Strukturanalyse; Le papyrus London VI (P. Jews) 1914 dans son contexte historique (mai 335); Aurêlios Pageus, alias Apa Paiêous, et le monastère mélitien d'Hathor; Catholiques et Mélitiens à Alexandrie à la veille du Synode de Tyr (335); Heraiscus as Melitian Bishop of Heracleopolis Magna and the Alexandrian see; Épiphane de Salamine sur le schisme mélitien. Part 2 Related Studies: The Alexandrian patriarch as pharaoh: from biblical metaphor to scholarly topos; On the invocation of the 'Holy and Consubstantial Trinity' in Byzantine oath and dating formulas; Christ versus Apollo in early Byzantine Kourion? With a note on the so-called 'Paniya Aphroditissa' in Paphos; Index.

About the Authors

Hans Hauben is Emeritus Professor at the University of Leuven, Belgium. Peter Van Nuffelen is Research Professor of Ancient History at the University of Ghent, Belgium.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at [email protected]

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Ancient / General