Constructing Christian bureaucrats: Justinian and the governor’s oath of office

Wuk, Michael (2022) Constructing Christian bureaucrats: Justinian and the governor’s oath of office. Journal of Late Antiquity, 15 (2). ISSN 1939-6716

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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

This article examines aspects of the investiture oath sworn by provincial governors under the reign of Justinian. This oath, which was implemented alongside the promulgation of Novel 8 in 535, was intended to act as an overt articulation of the governor’s duties. Owing to this purpose, it is significant that parts of the oath-formula directly relate to the swearer’s doctrinal affiliation. The governor could not begin his period of service without first stating his agreement with a sanitized form of imperial Christianity and promising to prevent the existence of sects which opposed what the emperor contemporaneously defined as “orthodoxy.” Through these crucial yet brief statements, gubernatorial bureaucrats publicly demonstrated that their administrative remit also concerned provincial religious conflicts. This expression was an imperial response to the ongoing dialogue between state and church actors about the nature of Christian civil service. Through the implementation of this carefully constructed oath of office, Justinian made his provincial governors characterize themselves as “orthodox” servants in an “orthodox” Christian empire.

Keywords:Justinian, Oath-taking, Civil service, Christianity, Christological conflict
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V120 Byzantine History
Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q712 Late Greek
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V110 Ancient History
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V621 Christian studies
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V610 Theology
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (History)
ID Code:48352
Deposited On:09 Mar 2022 11:33

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