The History & Texts of Christian Councils & Creeds

Under Construction

“And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.”

Acts 15:6

“And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.”

Acts 16:4

“And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.”

Acts 5:41

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Order of Contents

Primary Sources
Secondary Sources
Dictionary
On Specific Councils

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Primary Sources

The Creeds

In English

Reformed.org

Has the main early Church creeds

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In Greek & Latin

Print

ed. Schaff, Philip – The Creeds of Christendom, vol. 2  (1896)

A standard edition of most all of the early Church creeds, with the English and original languages on opposing columns.  See vol. 1 below for historical background on these creeds.

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Online

Patristica.net

This is easy to use for the creeds in the original languages opposite an English translation.  Scroll down, click on the bolded councils, click ‘English’, click ‘ok’.

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The Councils

In English

ed. Percival – The Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church: their Canons & Dogmatic Decrees, Together with the Canons of All the Local Synods which have Received Ecumenical Acceptance  in ed. Schaff & Wace, Nicene & Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, vol. 14

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In Greek & Latin

Here is an easy edition to consult for the first four councils:

ed. Lambert, William – The Canons of the First Four General Councils of the Church & those of the Early, Local, Greek Synods, in Greek with Latin, with English in Parallel Columns  (London: R.D. Dickinson, 1869)  185 pp.  ToC

Lambert was an Anglican rector.

The standard, older edition of all the councils in Latin from the beginning up to AD 1902 is:

ed. Mansi, Giovan et al. – Sacrorum Conciliorum Nova et Amplissima Collectio, 51 vols.  (Paris: H. Welter, 1903-1927)

Here is a very brief table of contents of all the volumes.  Here is a very detailed table of contents up through volume 46 (1902).  Here is an Author Index up through the first 35 volumes (1724).

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Secondary Sources  on the Creeds & Councils Generally

Single Volume

1800’s

Pusey, E.B. – The Councils of the Church from the Council of Jerusalem A.D. 51 to the Council of Constantinople A.D. 381, Chiefly as to their Constitution but also as to their Objects & History  (London: John Henry Parker, 1857)  380 pp.

Pusey was a high-church Anglican who had a following named after him.  He wrote an excellent scholarly defense of the book of Daniel.

Lumby, J. Rawson – The History of the Creeds  (Cambridge: Deighton, Bell & Co., 1873)  280 pp.  The work covers ante-Nicene creeds, the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed & the Athanasian Creed

ed. Schaff, Philip – The Creeds of Christendom, vol. 1  4th ed. rev. & enlarged  (NY: Harper & Brothers, 1896)  960 pp.  ToC

This gives the historical background on the early Church creeds.  For the creeds themselves, see vol. 2 above.

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1900’s

Turner, Cuthbert Hamilton – The History & Use of Creeds & Anathemas in the Early Centuries of the Church  2nd ed.  (SPCK, 1910)  120 pp.  ToC

Kelly, J.N.D.

Early Christian Creeds  3rd ed.  Buy  (David McKay Co., 1972)  450 pp.  ToC

Early Christian Doctrine  2nd ed.  (NY: Harper & Row)  510 pp.  ToC

Jedin, Hubert – Ecumenical Councils of the Catholic Church  Buy  (Herder & Herder, 1960)  260 pp.  ToC

An outline survey by a Roman Catholic historian.

ed. Margull, Hans J. – The Councils of the Church: History & Analysis  (1961; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1966)  550 pp.  ToC

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Multi-Volume

Hefele, Charles – A History of the Councils of the Church from the Original Documents, vol. 1 (to 326), 2 (326-429), 3 (431-451), 4 (451-680), 5 (626-780)  (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1894 / 1896)

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Dictionary

Landon, Edward H. – A Manual of Councils of the Holy Catholic Church, vol. 1 (A-N), 2 (O-Z)  rev. ed.  (Edinburgh: John Grant, 1909)

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On Specific Councils

The Apostles’ Creed

King, P. – The History of the Apostles’ Creed, with Critical Observations on its Several Articles  (1719)  430 pp.

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The Council of Nicea, 325 AD

Kaye, John – Some Account of the Council of Nicea, in Connexion with the Life of Athanasius  (1853)  320 pp.

Ayres, Lewis – Nicaea & its Legacy: An Approach to Fourth Century Trinitarian Theology  Buy  (Oxford Univ. Press, 2006)  490 pp.  ToC

Ayres is a lay, Romanist theologian and is a professor of Romanist and Historical Theology at Durham University in the United Kingdom.

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The Athanasian Creed

Waterland, Daniel – A Critical History of the Athanasian Creed  rev. King  (1723; 1870)  320 pp.

Waterland (1683–1740) was a conservative Anglican.

Horne, Thomas Hartwell – A Concise History & Analysis of the Athanasian Creed  (1834)  35 pp.

Horne was a very conservative English theologian and librarian.  His introduction and background to the Bible was long used at Princeton.

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Patristica.net for 2 of the exhaustive older works.

EWTN – Church Councils et al.

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Pearse, Roger – ‘Ancient Collections of Church Council Canons & Acts’

Translated Texts for Historians

45. The Acts of the Council of Chalcedon

51. The Acts of the Council of Constantinople of 553…  with the Three Chapters Controversy

61. The Acts of the Lateran Synod of 649

Translated Texts for Hisorians, Contexts

1. Chalcedon in Context: Church Councils, 400-700 A.D.

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Various

Hess, Hamilton, The Early Development of Canon Law & the Council of Serdica  in Oxford Early Christian Studies  (Oxford Univ. Press)  Pre

Includes an appendix with an English translation of the canons of the council.

 

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