Talk:Councils of Carthage

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Council or synod epitaphs[edit]

It seems to me that the the more proper term for the meetings at Carthage is "council." In modern usage, "council" and "synod" have acquired a somewhat more precise distinction in their meaning, at least in the Catholic Church.

A meeting of the entire episcopate of a region, nation, etc. for the purposes of enacting binding legislation on faith, morals or discipline is a "council." A synod is an ecclesiastical meeting which does not meet all of these requirements: only certain bishops, a mix of bishops and others, deliberative purpose rather than specifically legislative etc.

By these definitions, the meetings at Carthage were definitely councils and not merely synods. If the status is uncertain or other editors do not wish to follow this distinction, could we at least name the article Councils and Synods of Carthage? In Catholic use, I have never come across "Synod of Carthage." --Vita Dulcedo et Spes Nostra 15:14, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

Ummm... I'm sorry, please read the Catholic Encyclopedia entry on African Synods. Namely the first sentence: There was no general council of the entire Church held at any time in North Africa. It sounds like you know more than the Catholics of 1907 on this topic (or vice versa). "Synod of Carthage" is the name most commonly used by historians and secular scholars. I think if you seriously want to try to rename or move the article, you are going to have to come up with your sources (and even then, we are going to have competing sources, so I'm not sure how this can be settled). If it ends up that secular and religious sources use "Synods of Carthage" but only a minor POV uses "Councils of Carthage", then we have to go with the former to be more inclusive, while mentioning the latter in brief. This isn't a matter of us deciding the "Proper" definition for these meetings, but simply using the terms that our sources use. Keep in mind WP:OR, WP:V, WP:RS, WP:CITE and WP:NPOV.--Andrew c 00:56, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
Andrew c, we meet again. I was just looking into the article, Biblical canon which refers to the "third Synod of Carthage" which took place in 397ad and was the first such council to approve the 27-book NT common to the Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant churches to the present day. This is no small oversight in this article. So I am including it.
In relation to the above discussion I have Googlled both forms with these results:
  • "Synod of Carthage": 675 hits[1]
  • "Council of Carthage": 39,000 hits[2]
There appears to be no contest between the relative frequency of the two forms.
An additional note: The terms synod and council are derived from the Greek and the Latin terms which are considered equivalent. The term synod has remained relatively more common in references to Eastern meetings with council generally being more common in Western usage (at least among the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, see Synod. General Council and General Synod have both been employed to refer to what is presently called an Ecumenical Council. Preference between the two terms' synod and council, has alternated in various eras.
The division of the terms into council for a universal meeting and synod for a regional one is a false one and of expressly modern origin. As the Orthodox Churches have not had a universal meeting of bishops since the medieval period and the Catholic Church has continued with the practice, synod has become associated with regional meetings and councils with universal meetings. However, Catholics still have regional councils and Anglican universal meetings are called general synods.
So the question remains, what about the North African meetings? As they were clearly features of the Western Church, Council should be preferred and as Google demonstrates, actually is.
The venerable though frequently archaic Catholic Encyclopedia notwithstanding, I would propose that this article move to the preferred and historically more sensible term, "Councils of Carthage," which is the likely term on which the reader is likely to search. Vaquero100 18:00, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
What about the Council of Carthage of 397 A.D.? Winston.PL 10:21, 19 September 2006 (UTC)
Google Books ngram viewer shows Council of Carthage as the preferred usage. I added some {{anchor}}s but the article will need to be harmonized with the inbound links. —BoBoMisiu (talk) 19:35, 21 June 2015 (UTC)

Names of books[edit]

User:Latreia recently renamed the books explicitly mentioned by the canons of the council to better match those names used by the King James Bible and its successors. I find this new translation problematic:

  • The council canon implies that David wrote the psalter. This implication is lost in the new translation.
  • The new translation restricts the 12 prophets to the 12 minor prophets, which is not explicit in the original.
  • The new translation expands the two books of Esdras into three books, one of Nehemiah and two of Ezra. It is not obvious that this translation is correct. In fact, I am confident that it is wrong.
  • The new translation mentions the Septuagint, which is not mentioned at all in the original.
  • The old translation mentions explicitly that Hebrews was written by Paul. The new translation omits this interesting datum.

In sum, the new translation seems to anachronistically project modern ideas concerning the biblical canon into an ancient document. For that and all the specific reasons listed above, I purpose to revert this latest edit. Rwflammang (talk) 22:09, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

With the addition of the phrase "quoted as" it is now clearer that the list is a quotation from the document itself; given this, I fully agree with your revert. I wasn't projecting new ideas onto a translation; I was simply not aware that this was a quote; this wasn't obvious enough. Latreia (talk) 18:33, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

Source Documents Without Titles & Dates are Absolutely Useless[edit]

Did someone forget something? Kind of like getting in your car without the keys... Or maybe going to get a drink of water and forgetting the cup... The SOURCE section does not list the names of any of the books, the publisher, the date published, the edition - rendering them absolutely unobtainable... Essentially this page is entirely unsourced, since no one can ascertain what publications are being referred to, after all of that work the editor basically achieved nothing... Maybe they were going to come back to it at a later time & add the rest? I am marking this article as unreferenced since for all intensive purposes, it is... Stevenmitchell (talk) 19:57, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

Count of prophet books[edit]

The entry currently contains a listing of the books in the canonization of the bible as including "12 books of Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Tobias, Judith, Esther, 2 books of Ezra,[5] 2 books of Maccabees...". But that only adds up to 11 books, not 12! Is this an error inthe quote, or an error by the Council of Carthage? Andylatto (talk) 20:30, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

The 12 books do not include Isaias, Jeremias, etc. They are the twelve minor prophets.
Rwflammang (talk) 23:59, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

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Some of the early African councils mentioned in this article are only known through the writings of Cyprian.[1] Edward John Shepherd argued in the 19th century that some of the writings attributed to Cyprian were forgeries written against Pelagianism, and that the early African councils mentioned in them never happened.[2][1] I have noted sources on both sides of the debate on the authenticity of Cyprian's letters at s:Talk:Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume V/Cyprian/The Epistles of Cyprian/Part 58. However, I can't find a modern scholar who discusses the matter. Given this, I'm presuming the letters are authentic and the councils are historical, but can someone come up with a WP:RS to back this up? I'm considering adding this to the article. Sondra.kinsey (talk) 17:34, 18 August 2017 (UTC)


  1. ^ a b "Shepherd's Letters on Cyprian". The Christian Observer. Hatchard and Company. 54: 313-314. 1854. Retrieved 14 August 2017. 
  2. ^ Shepherd, Edward John (1853). Four letters to the Rev. S. R. Maitland, D.D., on the genuineness of the writings ascribed to Cyprian, bishop of Carthage. London: Longmans.