- Oct 2018
A political assembly couldn't have assets, since it was not a fixed political organization, but a political process (they also couldn't cease to exist short of the collapse of a town's government), and no church or synagogue in the Egyptian countryside would have been built or financed by the imperial government, and so we shouldn't expect them to owe the imperial government anything upon their dissolution (I should add that, actually, synagogues were not themselves referred to as ecclesiae, but Jewish gatherings were). The fact that this event involves a procurator privatae, a magister privatae and the Prefect of Egypt also suggests to me that what is happening is not happening in isolation, but reflects orders being sent from Alexandria throughout Egypt.The author of the document states that it a former ecclesia. Isn't it also reasonable to assume that when an ecclesia. (gathering or assembly of people) ceases to function, it may have had a financial obligation to the state to return all assets to the state?
It's an interesting question. It should be noted that ecclesiae in the sense of citizen assemblies still existed in late antiquity, since cities did not cease to have local political leadership with the advent of Roman rule. My LSJ (the principal Ancient Greek lexicon) lists the following definitions: an assembly of people, a citizen assembly, a Jewish gathering, a church. You mention Philostratus - He happens to be listed in LSJ as an example of ecclesia as citizen assembly.I am aware of its more ancient Athenian usage, however It would be interesting to know more about the useage of this word "ecclesia" at the turn of the 4th century, but in a non Christian context.
Ecclesia: （ἐκκλησία). The assembly of the people, which in Greek cities had the power of final decision in public affairs. (Athenian context)
Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898), E, E, Ecclesia
Word frequency information for ἐκκλησία
Word Frequency Information
I would be interested in looking at how the non christian authors use this word. For example from the 3rd century: Cassius Dio, Philostratus, Aelius Aristides.
The problem is that I cannot read the Greek. How do these three authors for example use this word "ecclesia"?