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Practice and Function of Ecclesiastical Recommendation in Late Antiquity (Fourth-Fifth Centuries AD) (2021-2022)


Publication: 10.58367/NECY.ODO.2022.1
Field of study: Religious Studies

In the ancient world, recommendation was an important expression of patronage, effecting introduction, mediation, problem‑solving. Christianity took over and adapted Roman models to suit new realities of Christian travel and hospitality,
pastoral care, recruitment, career advancement (clerical as well as ascetic), the articulation of communion and orthodoxy, among others. This paper explores the functions of late antique Christian recommendation practices, its complex and often ambiguous typology, with particular emphasis on the correspondence – or discrepancy – between evidence collected from extant papyri, canonical prescriptions, and examples from epistolary corpora of known authors.

Keywords: commendatio, epistolography, letter‑carriers, early canons, Basil of Caesarea, Ambrose of Milan, Augustine of Hippo, Jerome, Zosimus, Leo I, letters in papyri

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