Sessions @ the XV International Congress of Medieval Canon Law

Université Pantheon-Assas – Paris II

Tuesday 19 July 2016

2 : 00 pm – 4 : 00 pm (Amphi. 4, Ground Floor)
Chair : Abigail FIREY

Matteo NACCI, La « cultura giuridica » nelle fonti del diritto canonico altomedievale: l’esempio dei libri penitenziali
The focus of this conference is the cultural and juridical meaning of the Penitential Books. In front of the secular law of the same period, in which the pecuniary composition was the unique progress in respect to the feud but not considered the « intentional » requisite (fundamental feature of the Penitentials), those Canon law sources’ of the early medieval period are an interesting model of justice in respect to the civil systems and a valiant example of « juridical culture ».

  • Roy FLECHNER, The Hibernensis : an insular-continental bridge
    Abstract: Compiled in Ireland in the late seventh or early eighth century, the Hibernensis survives exclusively in copies made in Continental Europe. Its influence on subsequent canonical collections, such as the Corbie redaction of the Vetus Gallica and Burchard’s Decretum, is indisputable, but its impact in Ireland itself is not as well attested. Despite being indebted to Irish vernacular law, clerics in Francia and Italy seem not to have been deterred from copying the text in its entirety or citing it in new collections that they compiled. The Hibernensis also draws heavily on Gallic and African church councils, as well as on numerous other sources which were uncommon in canonical collections, such as the Fathers and hagiography. Structurally it resembles systematic collections like Cresconius’s Concordia Canonum but there is no evidence that the Hibernensis drew directly upon them. To what extent, therefore, can this influential collection be said to have been original and did its compilers intend for it to be original ? By drawing on a new edition of the Hibernensis, the present paper will examine the Irish and non-Irish normative backgrounds to which the Hibernensis was responding and will ask whether it might have been compiled with a view to being exported.


Stephen METZGER, Capitula diversarum sententiarum pro negociis rei publice consulendis: the manuscript, the text’s origins, structure, and authorship

Colin F. WILDER, Index Iuris : a meta-archive of digital medieval legal history sources

Wednesday 20 July 2016

10 : 30 – 12 : 30 (Amphi. 1, Ground Floor)
Chair: Rob MEENS

Adriaan GAASTRA, The canonist as pastor: penance in Italian canonistic texts of the eleventh century
In South and Central Italy the penitential genre experienced a late renaissance in the eleventh and early twelfth centuries. Not only were a number of new penitentials composed in this period, the canons of penitentials increasingly found their way into the Italian canon law collections. The most important witnesses of this development are the South Italian Collection in Nine Books and the Collection in Five Books. The compilers of these collections not only included many rulings of  penitentials, but they also reformulated existing rulings and created new ones themselves. In turn, many regulations of these collections later entered penitential books. Thus we see a lively interplay between pastoral and legal texts. This paper examines the image of the priest-confessor as it is found in Italian canon law collections, thereby focusing primarily upon the Collection in Five Books, probably composed between 1014 and 1023 in Montecassino or a dependent monastic institution. By commenting on the canons and changing his sources, the author of this collection guided his readers through the procedures of penance and instructed them to cope with the often conflicting canons. This paper will analyse some of these strategies to edify his readers. Secondly this paper will compare the procedures of confession and penance laid down by the Collection in Five Books with those of the Italian penitentials and their liturgical ordines.


Birgit KYNAST, Penance in the Decretum of Burchard of Worms (1000-1025)
Penance is the most prominent topic in bishop Burchard of Worms’ Decretorum libri XX. In almost every book penance plays an important role : Especially the books on capital crimes, such as theft, homicide, adultery, superstitions or perjury contain a huge number of canons which all give penances for different sins and crimes. Book 19, the so-called Corrector or Medicus, treats exclusively the topic of penance, in a practical as well as in a theoretical perspective. Moreover, its canon 5 contains more than 190 questions dealing with all sorts of sins, misdeeds and crimes, each question containing a suitable penance. The paper will try to link this questionnaire to the other parts of the collection : Using the topic of penance as a key, it becomes visible, how much the bishop of Worms was concerned with rendering the traditional canon law accessible and applicable, especially but not only concerning the instrument of penance.


Atria A. LARSON, The treatise De vera et falsa penitentia and canon law in the twelfth century
For several decades now, scholars have recognized as one of Gratian’s formal sources the Collectio trium librorum (3 L), recently edited by Giuseppe Motta. Scholars have also for many years known that Gratian drew directly on treatise on penance, De uera et falsa penitentia, in his own section De penitentia (Decretum, C. 33, q. 3). What has escaped scholarly notice thus far is that the 3 L also excerpted from De uera et falsa penitentia. In the indices in his edition, Motta could only identify certain texts as those that had parallels in Gratian’s Decretum ; all of these are in fact from De uera et falsa penitentia. Because one of the two extant manuscripts of the 3 L is dated with confidence to ante 1123, scholars can date the collection with some accuracy, and that date is important for considerations about when and how – and even where – Gratian was working. Meanwhile, the 1995 doctoral thesis of Karen Wagner critically edited De uera, and my recent work in producing a new edition of Gratian’s De penitentia has uncovered which of Wagner’s manuscripts were closest to the one Gratian himself used. They are Bologna, Bibliotheca Comunale dell’Archiginnasio A148 and BAV, Reg. lat. 135. This paper will examine the relationship of the treatise De uera et falsa penitentia to 3 L and to Gratian’s Decretum, both produced in central Italy before 1140, individually and also attempt to answer the broader question of what the usage of the treatise in both the 3 L and the Decretum can tell scholars about the developments of penitential thought and the relationship in central Italy between penance and canonical regulations in this period. For this paper, original manuscripts as well as modern editions of all three texts will be examined.


John BURDEN, A fresh look at the origins of the Pseudo-Augustinian De vera et falsa penitentia
The pseudo-Augustinian penitential treatise De vera et falsa penitentia is peculiar in several ways. Although it forms the backbone of Gratian’s Tractatus de penitentia (c. 1140), not a single manuscript survives from much before 1200 and not a single author of the twelfth century cites the De vera independently of Gratian. Given these circumstances, Gratian’s use of approximately half of the treatise in his De penitentia around 1140 takes on elevated significance. Most scholarship has focused on the treatise as it supposedly existed before Gratian, attempting largely in vain to identify its sources and establish a secure date of composition. My paper looks instead to Gratian for answers, taking particular inspiration from the discovery of an earlier recension of the Decretum which contains the De penitentia. Using this new and exciting window into Gratian’s workplace, I will ask several questions : what would the De vera that Gratian cited have looked like ? What exactly did Gratian think he was citing ? And finally, can the first recension tell us anything new about the origins of this mysterious treatise ?


Saturday 23 July 2016

Session 35: MONASTIC LAW
10 : 30 – 12 : 30 (Salle 3, First Floor)
Chair: Kathleen G. CUSHING

  • Elaine PEREIRA FARRELL, Corbie in the 8th century : reform, canon law and penitential production
    Abstract: The abbey of Corbie was a royal foundation which played an influential role during the so-called Carolingian reforms. It was an religious centre with a strong Columbanian, and therefore Irish influence, since its foundation when Waldebert, the abbot of Luxueil was invited to be the first abbot of Corbie. It was there, as Hubert Mordek had demonstrated, that the Collectio Vetus Gallica, a canon law collection initially produced in Lyon c. 600, was thoroughly revised and expanded in the eight century. Scholars have convincingly argued that it was also in this centre that the Excarpsus Cummeani was produced. The Excarpsus is a penitential text which was transmitted in various manuscripts together with the Vetus Gallica. The aim of this paper is to further investigate the interrelations between these two texts and thus enhance our understanding of the concepts of reform, canon law and penance in Corbie in the eighth century.


Benoît ALIX, In forma judicii et regula monachorum: réflexions sur un critère de partage des compétences entre l’évêque et l’abbé en matière de correction des moines

Kriston R. RENNIE, Making concessions : monastic exemption and the law of papal

2 : 00 pm – 3 : 30 pm (Amphi. 1, Ground Floor)
Chair: Herbert SCHNEIDER

Joaquín María SEDANO RUEDA, Fecisti homicidium ? Penitential canons in the Collection in Ten Parts
Abstract: The significant dependence of Collection in Ten Parts on the Panormia can be found in the parts 1-3 and 5-9. However, the fourth – which contains canonical rules of regular canons – and the tenth part do not include any canon from the Panormia. The tenth part deals with penance. It includes, besides many canons from Burchard of Worm’s Corrector, a highly interesting penitential text that begins with the following inquiry : Fecisti homicidium voluntarie, et non necessitate ? This paper will focus on the textual tradition of this text, the material selection and choices made by the author in relation with his sources, and the characteristics of this type of penitentials as a precedent of the summae confesorum introduced at the end of twelfth century.

Version 2

Arnaud FOSSIER, Licet non credas excommunicationis sententia incurisse, te
absolvimus ad cautelam. Impuissance du droit ou raison administrative ? La théorie et la pratique de l’absolution à cautèle (XIIe-XVe siècle)

Élisabeth LUSSET, Deux fois sur le métier, remettez votre ouvrage. Les ratés de la grâce pontificale au prisme des registres de la Pénitencerie apostolique (1458-1521)

4: 00 pm – 5: 30 (Amphi. 4, Ground Floor)

  • Rob MEENS, An unknown late Carolingian penitential book in Ms. Troyes 1979
    Abstract: Manuscript Troyes, Bibliothèque Municipale 1979, written in the late tenth or early eleventh century, contains an intriguing ensemble of texts, which has not yet been fully explored. It contains among others the Admonitio Generalis, Alcuin’s Liber officiorum and Hrabanus Maurus De octo principalibus vitiis. The inclusion of these three texts illustrates the main purposes of the compilation of different texts that we find in the manusript : legal rulings, instruction and morals. In line with these main purposes we find canonistic text in this manuscript, a canon law collection as well as penitential books. This paper will discuss one of the penitential books in this manuscript, a text that has never been edited or subjected to closer scrutiny. It will try to establish the intellectual climate in which this penitential has been composed, a climate that was inspired by the criticism of penitential books as had been put forward at the Carolingian reform councils of 813, that are cited in this text.


Sven MEEDER, The organisation of a disorganised systematic collection of canons: theeighth-century Collectio 400 capitulorum
Abstract: When Friedrich Maassen first described in detail the eighth-century canonical collection known as the Collectio 400 capitulorum he remarked that the text jumped abruptly from one subject to the other and that the arrangement was devoid of structure (« ohne Plan ») (Maassen : 1870, p. 844). This sentiment was repeated by Hubert Mordek, who « with the best will in the world » could find no system in this systematically arranged collection (Mordek : 1975, p. 163). The key to understanding the arrangement of this little-known (but influential) canonical collection, this paper argues, is to regard it as an unfinished work, mid-stage its completion. In fact, the Collectio 400 seems to oscillate between the early stages and the more advanced stages of compiling a systematic collection. Detailed study of the collection not only clears up the system behind the organisation of the Collectio 400, but it also sheds light, more generally, on the successive steps in the compilation of a systematically arranged collection of canons in the early Middle Ages.


Martin BRETT, The Collection in Ten Parts from Cologne


For the complete programme and further info about the event.