The History of Medieval Canon Law in the Classical Period, 1140-1234

The History of Medieval Canon Law in the Classical Period, 1140-1234: from Gratian to the decretals of Pope Gregory IX

Wilfried Hartmann
Kenneth Pennington
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 456
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt2853s5
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  • Book Info
    The History of Medieval Canon Law in the Classical Period, 1140-1234
    Book Description:

    This latest volume in the ongoing History of Medieval Canon Law series covers the period from Gratian's initial teaching of canon law during the 1120s to just before the promulgation of the Decretals of Pope Gregory IX in 1234.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1845-8
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Wilfried Hartmann and Kenneth Pennington
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  5. 1 The Establishment of Normative Legal Texts: The Beginnings of the Ius commune
    (pp. 1-21)
    Michael H. Hoeflich and Jasonne M. Grabher

    The ‘rediscovery’ of Roman law and the concomitant development of canon law in twelfth-century Europe have intrigued historians since the sixteenth century. The rediscovery and renewal of what the Germans have called ‘scientific jurisprudence’ played a key role in the development of Charles Homer Haskins’ vision of the ‘Renaissance of the Twelfth Century’ and of R.W. Southern’s concept of the scholastic unification of medieval Europe.¹ Central to this notion of rediscovery and renewal is the growth in importance of legal studies at universities during this period and the growing production of university graduates trained in law who could hold important...

  6. 2 Gratian and the Decretum Gratiani
    (pp. 22-54)
    Peter Landau

    The name of Master Gratian has long been associated with a twelfth-century collection of Latin sources of canon law. Not only does this collection, definitive and authoritative for many centuries, have systematically arranged texts dating from the early church to the twelfth century, but the texts are discussed and analyzed through Gratian’s dicta (comments), in which he interpreted the contradictions within the sources and brought them into concordance. By means of his dicta, Gratian demonstrated that the canon law of the church was a harmonically complete unity. His goal is also expressed in the original title for the compilation, the...

  7. 3 The Development of the Glossa ordinaria to Gratian’s Decretum
    (pp. 55-97)
    Rudolf Weigand

    Glosses on the Decretum probably formed the earliest field of activity for canonists.¹ Their first glosses were short explanations of words. This type of gloss was very old. It can be found in the margins of pre-Gratian canon collections from the early Middle Ages, for example, as in the Dionysio-Hadriana in Würzburg M. p. th. f. 3 dating from the beginning of the ninth century, which has Latin and Old High German glosses in different ninth-century hands and in a Würzburg Universitätsbibliothek manuscript M. p. th. f. 146 from the same period.² These early glossed are often more an attempt...

  8. 4 The Teaching and Study of Canon Law in the Law Schools
    (pp. 98-120)
    James A. Brundage

    University teaching of canon law is as old as the universities themselves, and every medieval university provided for it.¹ Exactly when this began is impossible to say, as it is not possible to assign a precise date for the appearance of the earliest universities in Europe. Canon law was certainly taught in some systematic fashion in private schools at Bologna before Gratian’s book appeared, and teachers at Paris were lecturing on the Decretum within a decade of its appearance.² A generation or so later—certainly by the 1190s—canon law was being taught at Oxford.³ By the first decade of...

  9. 5 The Decretists: The Italian School
    (pp. 121-173)
    Kenneth Pennington and Wolfgang P. Müller

    Although it was not a highly polished text and its organization made it difficult to use, Gratian’s Decretum quickly became the standard textbook of medieval canon law in the Italian and transmontane schools. Its flaws were created by its long period of gestation but were minor when compared to its utility. The Decretum began as a book for teaching, and it remained a text for the classroom.¹

    In the formative age of canon law, that age following Gratian when the study of canon law became a discipline in the schools, not just at Bologna but at Paris and other many...

  10. 6 The Transmontane Decretists
    (pp. 174-210)
    Rudolf Weigand

    The title of this chapter has been chosen to underline both the Northern canonists’ connections with, and their differences from, Italian decretists. The title also underlines the author’s conviction that the Bolognese school set the standard for the academic study of canon law. To take one example, it was the Bolognese-educated decretist Stephen of Tournai who founded or helped to found the French school of decretists. However, for various reasons this simple assertion is laden with ambiguity. Did there exist in France during the first half of the twelfth century a center of studies that continued to transmit and teach...

  11. 7 The Decretalists 1190 to 1234
    (pp. 211-245)
    Kenneth Pennington

    Bernard of Pavia, also known as Bernardus Balbi, inaugurated the age of the decretalists, the name given by scholars to those jurists who concentrated on papal decretals in their teaching and writing. He had glossed Gratian’s Decretum during the 1170s, beginning his career at Bologna in the age of the decretists. Like his teacher, Huguccio, Bernard followed a ‘cursus honorum’ that became a common pattern for jurists in the thirteenth century.¹ He studied and taught at Bologna, became provost of Pavia in 1187 and bishop of Faenza in 1191, where he succeeded Johannes Faventinus to the episcopal seat; then, in...

  12. 8 Decretal Collections from Gratian’s Decretum to the Compilationes antiquae: The Making of the New Case Law
    (pp. 246-292)
    Charles Duggan

    The history of canonical collections from Gratian’s Decretum (1125–1139) to the Compilationes antiquae (1189–1191 to 1226) presents a pattern of almost impenetrable complexity.¹ Their earliest origins lie in the paleae (additional material inserted at appropriate points in Gratian manuscripts and gradually absorbed into the text) and in the groups of such items, identified as ‘appendices to the Decretum’, which were devised as supplements to Gratian’s text and began to include post-Gratian decretals. Contemporaneously, however, wholly independent collections began to be made of the latest decretal letters, in a continuing effort to keep up-to-date with the latest rulings on...

  13. 9 Decretal Collections 1190–1234
    (pp. 293-317)
    Kenneth Pennington

    The flood tide of decretals that inspired the canonists to append small decretal collections to Gratian’s Decretum or to organize them into independent works did not recede as the twelfth century edged toward the shores of the thirteenth. The papacy inexorably descended, in the words of R.W. Southern, ‘into a vast ocean of litigation’.¹ Our hindsight gives us a perspective on these developments that was not apparent to jurists of the time. The bishop who addressed the Third Lateran Council and Pope Alexander III in 1179 used the metaphor of the papacy juxtaposed to the ocean quite differently from Southern’s...

  14. 10 Conciliar Law 1123–1215: The Legislation of the Four Lateran Councils
    (pp. 318-366)
    Anne J. Duggan

    When a bishop declared at the beginning of Third Lateran Council in 1179 that only the Roman Church could issue decrees of universal character, he was proclaiming a principle which had inspired reforming popes since Leo IX. The resumption of regular Roman councils, usually held in the Lateran during Lent, had been a crucial element both in the progress of the ‘Gregorian’ reform movement and in the assertion of papal leadership of the church. At the same time, the schisms and crises of the papal-imperial controversy (ca. 1075–1122) forced the popes to travel extensively outside the papal states, holding...

  15. 11 The Fourth Lateran Council and the Canonists
    (pp. 367-378)
    A. García y García

    The Fourth Lateran Council was celebrated in the Lateran Basilica, from the eleventh to the thirtieth of November 1215; the major fruits of this council were its 71 constitutions, which constitute the single most substantial collection of legislation put together by medieval popes for the reform of the Church and society of the time.¹ The Fourth Lateran Council, the most important of the five Lateran councils, is also more interesting to the historian of canon law than any of the other general councils of the Middle Ages. All of its constitutions passed into the Compilatio quarta, with the exception of...

  16. 12 The Internal Forum and the Literature of Penance and Confession
    (pp. 379-428)
    Joseph Goering

    When Dante ascended to the Sphere of the Sun, he was directed by St. Thomas Aquinas to consider a circle of shining lights. One of the lights, St. Thomas tells him, is Gratian, ‘who served the one and the other court so well that it gives pleasure in Paradise’ (‘che l’uno e l’altro foro / aiutò sì che piace paradiso’, Paradisio 10.104–5).¹ The allusion to two ‘courts’ (‘fora’) would have puzzled Gratian, but to both Thomas and Dante it would have been a clear reference to the two broad arenas in which the Church’s canon law was operative: the...

  17. Indices