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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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Athanasius and the Council of Sardica

Athanasius and the Council of Sardica

(p.162) 9 Athanasius and the Council of Sardica
The Easter Computus and the Origins of the Christian Era

Alden A. Mosshammer

Oxford University Press

A collection of the Paschal letters of Athanasius in a Syriac translation provides important evidence for the form of the Alexandrian 19‐year cycle in the time of Athanasius. Not all of the letters have survived, but the Syriac manuscripts do preserve a summary of the chronological data for the entire collection. The data in this “Festal Index” are such as one would find in an Easter table, and they sometimes include years numbered from Diocletian. The era of Diocletian arose in response to the administrative reforms of that emperor Its use in an Easter table does not imply a reform of the Alexandrian cycle during the reign of Diocletian. The sequence of epacts in the Index agrees neither with the cycle of Anatolius nor with the classical cycle. That sequence suggests that Athanasius modified the cycle of Anatolius in connection with the Council of Sardica in 343.

Keywords:   Athanasius, Festal Letters, Festal Index, Era of Diocletian, Council of Sardica

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