THE ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA

A DICTIONARY OF ARTS, SCIENCES, LITERATURE AND GENERAL INFORMATION

ELEVENTH EDITION 1911

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CHAPTER (a shortened form of chapiter, a word still used in architecture for a capital; derived from O. Fr. chapitre, Lat. capitellum, diminutive of caput, head), a principal division or section of a book, and so applied to acts of parliament, as forming “chapters” or divisions of the legislation of a session of parliament. The name “chapter” is given to the permanent body of the canons of a cathedral or collegiate Church31447-h.htm'>Church, presided over, in the English Church31447-h.htm'>Church, by the dean, and in the Roman communion by the provost or the dean, and also to the body of the members of a religious order. This may be a “conventual” chapter of the monks of a particular monastery, “provincial” of the members of the order in a province, or “general” of the whole order. This ecclesiastical use of the word arose from the custom of reading a chapter of Scripture, or a head (capitulum) of the regula, to the assembled canons or monks. The transference from the reading to the assembly itself, and to the members constituting it, was easy, through such phrases as convenire ad capitulum. The title “chapter” is similarly used of the assembled body of knights of a military or other order. (See also Canon; Cathedral; Dean).
Transcriber's note: A few typographical errors have been corrected. They appear in the text like this, and the explanation will appear when the mouse pointer is moved over the marked passage. Sections in Greek will yield a transliteration when the pointer is moved over them, and words using diacritic characters in the Latin Extended Additional block, which may not display in some fonts or browsers, will display an unaccented version.

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