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The Byzantine Lists Errors of the Latins cover
  • ISBN: 9780252025587
  • ISBN10: 025202558X

The Byzantine Lists Errors of the Latins

by Tia M. Kolbaba

  • List Price: $34.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Illinois Pr
  • Publish date: 08/01/2000
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The Byzantine lists cataloguing the "errors" of Latin Christians have been dismissed by generations of scholars as the writings of deranged fanatics. In contrast, Tia M. Kolbaba takes these texts seriously and presents an explanation of their significance that is both erudite and eminently readable.

The lists were written by Byzantines who believed that western Christians had fallen into heresy and impiety. Systematically addressing each fault enumerated in the lists -- including fasting on the Sabbath, prohibiting clerical marriage, eating unclean food, and crossing themselves the wrong way -- Kolbaba traces the likely explanations of the differences in custom and ritual between eastern and western Christians.

She considers when Byzantine Christians first raised a given issue and whether any ecclesiastical law speaks to the subject. She discusses whether the Latins actually did what they were accused of and whether any Byzantine Christians did what the Latins were accused of. She also shows how misinterpretation, misunderstanding, and xenophobia played a role in exaggerating Latin and Byzantine differences.

Kolbaba skillfully argues that the lists represent a desperate effort by some Byzantines to retain their cultural independence as Latin dominance in the military and commercial spheres slowly strangled the eastern empire. The Byzantine Lists also speaks meaningfully to the issue of xenophobia as it appears in every age: the effort to distinguish between "us" and "them" by establishing one's own culture as the norm and condemning difference on the other side.

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