Gratian's Tractatus de penitentia: A Textual Study and Intellectual History

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Gratian's Tractatus de penitentia: A Textual Study and Intellectual History

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Title: Gratian's Tractatus de penitentia: A Textual Study and Intellectual History
Author: Larson, Atria Ann
Abstract: In the twentieth century, scholarship on Gratian's <italic>Decretum</italic> made major advances, but several uncertainties remained. One of the chief puzzles involved the fact that Gratian included a lengthy theological treatise on penance in the midst of one of his legal cases around which he organized half of his work. Another puzzle was the person of Gratian himself, including his educational background. Scholars focused in large measure on the legal content and innovations in the <italic>Decretum</italic> and on the identity of Gratian as an innovative canonist. This dissertation revises this imbalanced characterization of Gratian and his work and also attempts to throw light on the educational formation of Gratian himself, both of which are accomplished through a thorough examination of the <italic>Tractatus de penitentia</italic> (<italic>secunda pars</italic> C.33 q.3), especially Gratian's own words and arguments. Moreover, the dissertation examines the reception of <italic>De penitentia</italic> in the second half of the twelfth century, traced through a comparison of texts and the determination of borrowings of terminology, concepts, and arguments. This examination contributes to the understanding of the nature of Gratian's work and that of his successors. To be precise, the investigation of <italic>De penitentia</italic>'s reception allows for a consideration not only of what elements in Gratian's treatise were most influential but also of the relationship between theology and canon law in the schools of the twelfth century.The dissertation concludes that Gratian was skilled and thoughtful in theological matters and in-tune with the theological developments in the schools of northern France. Significant overlap between <italic>De penitentia</italic> and teachings of the school of Laon show that Gratian's theological formation was influenced by that school. The understanding of the treatise's theological complexity and its integration into the <italic>Decretum</italic> contributes to an assessment of the <italic>Decretum</italic> as a reform-minded work aimed at the formation of a qualified priesthood. <italic>De penitentia</italic>'s reception reveals that Gratian was accepted as a theological master and that the work's influence spanned several disciplines and genres. Above all, the varied reception points to a lack of concrete divisions between canon law and theology in the period.
Description: Degree awarded: Ph.D. Medieval and Byzantine Studies. The Catholic University of America
Date: 2012-04-02

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