Decretist

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In the history of canon law, a decretist was student and interpreter of the Decretum Gratiani . Like Gratian, the decretists sought to provide "a harmony of discordant canons" (concordia discordantium canonum), and they worked towards this through glosses (glossae) and summaries (summae) on Gratian. [1] They are contrasted with the decretalists, whose work primarily focused on papal decretals.

<i>Decretum Gratiani</i>

The Decretum Gratiani, also known as the Concordia discordantium canonum or Concordantia discordantium canonum or simply as the Decretum, is a collection of canon law compiled and written in the 12th century as a legal textbook by the jurist known as Gratian. It forms the first part of the collection of six legal texts, which together became known as the Corpus Juris Canonici. It was used by canonists of the Roman Catholic Church until Pentecost 1918, when a revised Code of Canon Law promulgated by Pope Benedict XV on 27 May 1917 obtained legal force.

Gratian Roman emperor

Gratian was Roman emperor from 367 to 383. The eldest son of Valentinian I, Gratian accompanied, during his youth, his father on several campaigns along the Rhine and Danube frontiers. Upon the death of Valentinian in 375, Gratian's brother Valentinian II was declared emperor by his father's soldiers. In 378, Gratian's generals won a decisive victory over the Lentienses, a branch of the Alamanni, at the Battle of Argentovaria. Gratian subsequently led a campaign across the Rhine, the last emperor to do so, and attacked the Lentienses, forcing the tribe to surrender. That same year, his uncle Valens was killed in the Battle of Adrianople against the Goths. He favoured Christianity over traditional Roman religion, refusing the office of Pontifex maximus and removing the Altar of Victory from the Roman Senate.

Early decretists of the Italian school include Paucapalea, a pupil of Gratian's; Rufinus, who wrote the Summa Decretorum; and Huguccio, who wrote the Summa super Decreta, the most extensive decretist work. [1] There was also a French school of decretists starting with Stephen of Tournai. [2]

Paucapalea was a canon lawyer of the twelfth century. He produced the first commentary on the Decretum of Gratian, his teacher.

Rufinus was an Italian canon lawyer, described as the most influential canonist at the University of Bologna in the mid 12th century. He composed a Summa on Gratian's Decretum before 1159, which soon became the most influential commentary in Bologna, surpassing all previous ones in detail and length.

Huguccio was an Italian canon lawyer.

Notes

  1. 1 2 Rhidian Jones, The Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England: A Handbook (T&T Clark, 2000), 45–46.
  2. Weigand, Rudolf. "The Transmontane Decretists." In The History of Medieval Canon Law in the Classical period,1140-1234: From Gratian to the Decretals of Pope GregoryIX, edited by Wilfried Hartmann and Kenneth Pennington, 174–210. History of Medieval Canon Law. Washington, D.C: Catholic University of America Press, 2008.

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