IMC 2012: Sessions

Session 318: Compiling Canon Law around the Year 1000

Monday 9 July 2012, 16.30-18.00

Sponsor:Society for the Study of Episcopal Power & Culture in the Middle Ages (EPISCOPUS)
Organisers:Ludger Körntgen, Professur für Geschichte mit dem Schwerpunkt Mittelalterliche Geschichte, Universität Bayreuth
Dominik Waßenhoven, Facheinheit Geschichte, Universität Bayreuth
Moderator/Chair:Joyce Hill, School of English, University of Leeds
Paper 318-aThe Origins of the Scholastic Method in Two Canon Law Collections Around the Year 1000?: Explicit and Implicit Commentary in Burchard's Decretum and Abbo of Fleury's Collectio Canonum
(Language: English)
Greta Austin, Department of Religion, University of Puget Sound, Washington
Index terms: Canon Law, Learning (The Classical Inheritance)
Paper 318-bBurchard of Worms' Concept of Authority in His Decretum (Using the Example of BD 19.5)
(Language: English)
Birgit Kynast, Professur für Geschichte mit dem Schwerpunkt Mittelalterliche Geschichte, Universität Bayreuth
Index terms: Canon Law, Learning (The Classical Inheritance)
Paper 318-cA Bishop About Bishops: Selected Regulations from Wulfstan's Canon Law Collection and Their Sources
(Language: English)
Dominik Waßenhoven, Facheinheit Geschichte, Universität Bayreuth
Index terms: Canon Law, Learning (The Classical Inheritance)

At the dawn of the second millennium, canon law has been put into writing in a much more systematic way than before. Bishop Burchard of Worms compiled his Decretorum libri viginti, the most influential work of canon law before Gratian’s Concordia Discordantium Canonum. But Burchard was not a lone figure, other collections of canons had a similar systematic approach, like Abbo of Fleury’s Collectio Canonum or Wulfstan of York’s Collectio canonum Wigorniensis (also known as Excerptiones Pseudo-Ecgberhti). The session takes a fresh look at these collections, asking for the compilers’ strategies to classify the material and for the methods and reasons behind the modification of the sources.

Paper -a:
Traditional accounts of Western learning have focussed on the rise of scholasticism in the 12th century, with the supposedly new use of explicit commentary and methods to address conflicts and to make arguments, particularly in Gratian and Abelard. Yet commentary existed before the 12th century. Abbo of Fleury used explicit commentary in his Collection of canons, and Burchard of Worms used editorial strategies to provide implicit commentary in his popular book of Church law, the Decretum. This paper compares their uses of commentary, explicit and implicit. It argues that these compilers working around the year 1000 worked to address very similar issues, such as the development of coherent and consistent principles, as early scholastic thinkers.

Paper -b:
In Shaping Church Law Around the Year 1000, Greta Austin has already treated the question of Burchard of Worms’ concept of authority. She based her studies on four of the 20 books of the Decretum, books 6, 10, 11 and 12. However, book 19, the so-called ‘penitential’ of Burchard’s Decretum, is different in many ways, compared to the other parts of his collection. Within book 19, canon 5 again takes a special position. It was called the ‘real’ penitential in a book which treats penance in a general perspective; above all, it contains precise penances for concrete cases in more than 180 questions. Canon 5 has another distinctive feature compared to the other canons of the Decretum: it has no inscription to one of the authorities Burchard has named in the preface to his collection, such as papal decrees, councils and Church fathers. In my presentation I will therefore try to analyse Burchard’s concept or understanding of authority in canon 5 of book 19.

Paper c:
Wulfstan of York frequently addressed the duties of a bishop in his writings. His statements resemble the Regula pastoralis by Gregory the Great, which was of course widely used in Anglo-Saxon England since it was translated into Old English during the times of King Alfred the Great, who had a copy of the Pastoral Care sent to all of his bishops. In his legal writings, Wulfstan also made ample use of continental sources, mainly those of Carolingian times. In this paper, I will focus on Wulfstan’s canon law collection (the so called Excerptiones Pseudo-Ecgberhti) and compare its regulations on bishops with their sources. This might enable us to see if Wulfstan merely reproduced existing sources or reshaped their content into new ideas.