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The Easter Computus and the Origins of the Christian Era$
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Alden A. Mosshammer

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199543120

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199543120.001.0001

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The Letters to Boniface and Petronius

The Letters to Boniface and Petronius

(p.59) 4 The Letters to Boniface and Petronius
The Easter Computus and the Origins of the Christian Era

Alden A. Mosshammer

Oxford University Press

The Easter‐table of Dionysius Exiguus was the continuation of a 95‐year list he attributes to Cyril of Alexandria. He describes his work in two letters—one to Boniface and Bonus written in AD 525/6 in response to a question, the other written in 524/5 addressed to Petronius, at whose behest Dionysius undertook his work. The letter to Petronius serves as an introduction to the 95‐year Easter‐table. Dionysius explains and defends the mathematical accuracy of the Alexandrian 19‐year cycle as arising not from human inventiveness, but from the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He claims that the Council of Nicaea explicitly authorized the 19‐ year cycle and promulgated rules for it use that the patriarchs of Alexandria from Athanasius to Cyril careffihly guarded.

Keywords:   Easter‐table, Dionysius Exiguus, Cyril of Alexandria, 19‐year cycle, 95‐year cycle, Petronius, Boniface, Council of Nicaea, Athanasius

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