Are YOU saying that Lampe's book renders Zizioulas's book Eucharist, Bishop, Church: The Unity of the Church in the Divine Eucharist and the Bishop During the First Three Centuries obsolete/incorrect in its contention/theses?
1) Zizioulas is a theologian, not a historian. His book is very appealing theologically (and that's why it's been so influential in ecumenical circles), but, as is always the case, some of that theology rests on historical interpretations of the available sources. It is this latter area that has some questionable elements because...
2) Zizioulas wrote this book 40 years ago. A lot has happened in those 40 years. Hundreds of new documents have been discovered. The manuscript histories of hundreds (maybe thousands) of established documents have been carefully analyzed. Some documents have proven to be pseudoepigraphical. Others now enjoy excellent critical editions (no longer must we use Migne's corrupt 19th-century copies of Patristic writings!). In general, we have more sources, better sources, and hundreds of trained eyes that have examined these sources from a variety of methodological and theoretical perspectives.
3) That's not to say Zizioulas doesn't have a methodological approach. He does! But we should be clear about what it is. When Zizioulas wrote his dissertation, the major scholarly work was coming out of Western Europe, mainly from a Catholic and Anglo-Catholic perspective that focused heavily on pre-determined theological categories and employed very few resources outside of the standard texts found in Patrologies. Just compare Altaner's and Bardenhewer's original patrologies (and even the old Quasten) to DiBerardino's Encyclopedia of the Early Church
. The difference is striking. Forty years ago, the scholarship focused on bishops, emperors and a limited number of documents. This text-heavy corpus of evidence was then examined for its dogmatic content and arranged in pre-defined theological categories, many of which weren't introduced until 100s of years later.
There's nothing wrong with this, but one must admit that it is a limited approach. It's perfectly acceptable from a theological point of view, but what if that theological view is dependent on historical claims (as is Zizioulas', i.e. there was a monoepiscopal and monolithic eucharistic ecclesial reality that went back to the time of the apostles)? Theological claims are subject to theological analysis, but historical claims are subject to historical scrutiny.
Enter the new fields of Early Christian Studies and Late Antiquity, both of which are strongly interdisciplinary (theology, religious studies, classics, social history, literary theory, archeology, etc.) and which benefit from the opportunity to examine new patristic writings (especially letters), new inscriptions, new papyri, etc. Scholars in these fields don't simply assert there was a monoepiscopal reality going back to the apostles based on a particular reading of a few scant documents (that would be like reading the Declaration of Independence and maybe some personal letters written by Thomas Jefferson on the importance of Sallust, and then concluding that all Colonial Americans disliked the British and were very well educated in Greek and Latin).
So, Zizioulas is missing two things that have become par for the course. First, it's standard to see scholars employing evidence from archeology, prosopography, epigraphy, paleography, etc.; and, on the other hand, to approach these resources with theoretical acumen, including literary theory, rhetorical analysis, sociological models, etc. Basically to use the standards of good history when doing history.
I'm not sure what you mean by "beyond the ball." Do you mean that Zizioulas's book has been superseded by better or more thorough research and data (e.g., Lampe's book)?
Sorry. I meant "behind the ball." I wouldn't say Zizioulas has been superseded. I would simply say: Zizioulas is a theologian -- and an excellent one. But his historical claims suffer from a lack of attention to relevant sources and socio-cultural methodologies.
what does this mean for Zizioulas's complaint against the priest-headed parish being identified as the "local church"? Are you saying and/or pointing out that the idea that in Rome, Alexandria, etc., in the first centuries there was ONE church that met as ONE group under ONE bishop is a flawed and false idea (i.e., instead of one Rome church, there were (contra Zizioulas?) several/many "churches" that met in Rome)? And if so, were these many/several Roman, Alexandrian, etc., churches EACH headed by a Bishop, or did some of them emulate today's priest-headed assembly and have priests/presbyters in charge of the Eucharist without a bishop present - yet still were considered "catholic" churches?
Well, Lampe's book is very detailed and his thesis is built on an excruciatingly close analysis of many sources, so I can't really answer all of these questions in a post. Basically, he finds no evidence for a single episcopacy (as we now understand it) in Rome until the second century under Anicetus (and even then, the function of the single bishop is mainly social, i.e. to organize and distribute the alms for the poor from all the various Roman communities). Before that time, its appears there were several Roman churches that were pastored by their own presbyter-bishop (remember the distinction between the two wasn't always extremely clear-cut). Some of these churches were separated by geography (on different sides of the river), some by social class and wealth, some by points of theology.
Of course, Lampe isn't without his oversights, but that's another story!