From Gratian's Concordia discordantium canonum to Gratian's Decretum: The Evolution from Teaching Text to Comprehensive Code of Canon Law

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From Gratian's Concordia discordantium canonum to Gratian's Decretum: The Evolution from Teaching Text to Comprehensive Code of Canon Law

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Title: From Gratian's Concordia discordantium canonum to Gratian's Decretum: The Evolution from Teaching Text to Comprehensive Code of Canon Law
Author: Eichbauer, Melodie Fawn Harris
Abstract: This dissertation is a study of the textual development from Gratian's Concordia discordantium canonum to Gratian's Decretum. It will argue that the work was not published in two recensions but rather it progressively evolved and that each stage served a different purpose. Textual and structural evidence in the manuscript tradition underlines this progressive evolution. Beginning as a group of core cases addressing the most pressing legal issues of the time and used for teaching law at Bologna, Gratian expanded the Concordia by adding clusters of cases in stages. Casting the net of legal problems wider, each cluster had its roots in the previous one by either building upon a tangential point or by augmenting a previous argument. Only at the end did Gratian organize the cases into the arrangement found in the Concordia. A teaching tool evolved into a work for priests serving either as advocates or as judges. The marginal canons and accompanying supplements in mid-twelfth century manuscripts bear further witness to a development that both preceded and continued after the Concordia's circulation. Their inclusion implies that the vulgate recension, known as the Decretum, also developed over a period of time as Gratian continued to polish his work through additions and corrections. A comparison of the relationship between the multiple hands that augmented the manuscripts suggests that Gratian did not circulate the additional material all at once in a published compendium. Some canons entered into the textual tradition at different points, in different versions, and sometimes with different placement. The evolution continued without Gratian as jurists added texts, some of which are recognized as paleae while a handful of others entered the vulgate tradition unnoticed. Gratian may not have intended to integrate the additional material into his work. With the number of glosses ever increasing and with the methods of augmenting the work limiting its use, scribes began to incorporate the additional canons into the main text. A comprehensive source of canon law, the vulgate text may have evolved as a product of necessity and not as a product of design.
Description: Degree awarded: Ph.D. History. The Catholic University of America
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1961/9187
Date: 2011-02-24


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