The History of Medieval Canon Law in the Classical Period, 1140–1234 ed. by Wilfried Hartmann, Kenneth Pennington (review)
- The Jurist: Studies in Church Law and Ministry
- The Catholic University of America Press
- Volume 71, Number 1, 2011
- pp. 241-242
- View Citation
- Additional Information
THE HISTORY OF MEDIEVAL CANON LAW IN THE CLASSICAL PERIOD, 1140-1234, edited by Wilfried Hartmann and Kenneth Pennington . Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University ofAmerica Press, 2008, Pp. xiii–442. Modern scholarship on medieval canon law has rested on Stephan Kuttner’s Repertorium der Kanonistik: Prodomus corporis glossarum (1937). The editors and contributors to the present book aim to establish a new basis for work in the field. The book contains twelve contributions by eleven scholars. With a few exceptions, the contributors are the senior leaders in the field, and they write with great authority; two are deceased (Weigand and C. Duggan). The book begins with an essay on the origins of the ius commune by Michael Hoeflich and Jasonne Grabher. The ius commune was the normative system of jurisprudence that grew out of the scholastic studies in Roman and canon law during the twelfth century. Hoeflich and Grabher make the useful point that the academic lawyers were keenly aware of the needs of lawyers and judges in practice and sought to produce literature that would serve them in that context. The book then marches through the main branches of scholarship on the classical canon law—the Decretum Gratiani (ch. 2), the decretists who glossed it (ch. 3, 5, 6), the decretalists and the collections of decretals which they glossed (oddly, in that order: ch. 7, 8, 9), the conciliar legislation of the period (ch. 10, 11), and, in a welcome addition to the usual list of topics in the field, penance and the internal forum (ch. 12). In the midst of this march is a chapter on the schools and teaching. Peter Landau’s chapter on the Decretum (ch. 2) is the least successful. His treatment of Gratian is not systematic, and he does not pay sufficient attention to questions raised by Anders Winroth’s discovery that the vulgate Decretum was preceded by a first recension narrower in scope. The discovery has raised many questions about the origins of scholastic study of the canon law (and therefore of the classical period) and about such topics as the relationship between canon and Roman legal studies. Rudolf Weigand’s two contributions to this volume, on the development of the glossa ordinaria to the Decretum (ch. 3) and on the transmontane decretists (ch. 6), are replete with lists and citations of manuscripts. Weigand does not always make his theme clear, and nonspecialists will find his chapters hard going. book reviews 241 242 the jurist In contrast, James Brundage’s chapter on teaching in the schools (ch. 4) is an excellent survey that will serve specialists as a synthesis and nonspecialists as an introduction. The same is true of Charles Duggan’s introduction to the decretal collections from the Decretum to the Compilationes antiquae, the five systematic collections that became the basis for teaching the law of the decretals in Bologna (ch. 8), and of Anne Duggan ’s survey of the Lateran councils from 1123 (Lateran I) to 1215 (Lateran IV) (ch. 10). Antonio Garcia y Garcia’s brief chapter summarizes the history of commentaries on the decrees of the Fourth Lateran Council (ch. 11). Kenneth Pennington provides a good history of the Compilationes and contemporary collections (ch. 9), and surveys the current state of studies on the decretalists who commented on them and other collections of the period (ch. 7). The order of his two chapters is representative of the odd organization of the book, which sometimes makes one wonder about the editors’intentions. In the final chapter, Joseph Goering shows how the forum internum, with its informal procedures and concern for conscience, complemented and completed the forum externum, with its formal process and elaborate jurisprudence. He provides an excellent introduction to the literature and practice of penance. Neither the oddness of the organization nor the variation of style among the chapters detracts from the value of the book, although a stronger editorial stance certainly would have improved the quality of the writing in some chapters. But, Pennington and Hartmann have generated an important book that could be a new foundation for scholarship on the history of medieval canon law. Stanley Chodorow University of California San Diego, CA RECEIVING THE COUNCIL...