The Council of Turin (398/399) and the Reorganization of Gaul ca. 395/406

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The Council of Turin, which quite irregularly met in Italy even though it proposed to deal with the church of Gaul, has been the most studied and least understood of all the councils involving the late antique Gallic church. This study argues for a single council, contrary to past suggestions that there were two or even three Councils of Turin. It pinpoints the date of the meeting in either 398 or 399 CE. It then investigates in detail the background, procedures, and consequences of the council. Because of the lack of authority of Italian bishops to legislate for the church of Gaul, the most the council could do was make suggestions. It is argued that, with the imperial court located in northern Italy and with the bishops of Milan attempting to aggrandize their influence, the Council of Turin was but one element of a coherent initiative to reorganize and regularize the secular and ecclesiastical administration of Gaul as of 395 CE. These initiatives were brought to a halt by the Gallic political crises of 406 and later. Contrary to past assumptions, the Council of Turin had very little direct influence on the subsequent history of the Gallic church, and was only very rarely cited as an authority.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-307
JournalJournal of Late Antiquity
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013


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