Law and Legality in the Greek East: The Byzantine Canonical Tradition, 381-883

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 2015 - History - 331 pages
Byzantine church law remains terra incognita to most scholars in the western academy. In this work, David Wagschal provides a fresh examination of this neglected but fascinating world. Confronting the traditional narratives of decline and primitivism that have long discouraged study of the subject, Wagschal argues that a close reading of the central monuments of Byzantine canon law c. 381-883 reveals a much more sophisticated and coherent legal culture than is generally assumed. Engaging in innovative examinations of the physical shape and growth of the canonical corpus, the content of the canonical prologues, the discursive strategies of the canons, and the nature of the earliest forays into systematization, Wagschal invites his readers to reassess their own legal-cultural assumptions as he advances an innovative methodology for understanding this ancient law. Law and Legality in the Greek East explores topics such as compilation, jurisprudence, professionalization, definitions of law, the language of the canons, and the relationship between the civil and ecclesiastical laws. It challenges conventional assumptions about Byzantine law while suggesting many new avenues of research in both late antique and early medieval law, secular and ecclesiastical.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


The Byzantine Canonical Tradition 381883
The Shape of the Law
Introducing the Law
The Language of the Law
Systematizing the Law
Conclusions Problems Prospects
Prefaces and Epilogues to the Byzantine Canonical Collections

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2015)

David Wagschal studied medieval history and Byzantine theology at the University of Toronto and St. Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary before embarking upon his doctoral studies at the University of Durham, England in 2005-2010. A former Assistant Professor of Church History and Canon Law at St. Vladimir's Seminary in New York, he has also taught at the Toronto School of Theology, University of Toronto.

Bibliographic information