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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 the Decretals, promulgated by Pope Gregory IX in 1234, obtained legal force.
Around 1150 Gratian, teacher of theology at the monastery of Saints Nabor and Felix and sometimes believed to have been a Camaldolese monk, [ citation needed ]composed the work he called Concordia discordantium canonum, and others titled Nova collectio, Decreta, Corpus juris canonici, or the more commonly accepted name, Decretum Gratiani. He did this to obviate the difficulties which beset the study of practical, external theology (theologia practica externa), i.e., the study of canon law. In spite of its great reputation and wide diffusion, the Decretum has never been recognized by the Church as an official collection.
It is divided into three parts (ministeria, negotia, sacramenta). The first part is divided into 101 distinctions (distinctiones), the first 20 of which form an introduction to the general principles of canon Law (tractatus decretalium); the remainder constitutes a tractatus ordinandorum, relative to ecclesiastical persons and function. The second part contains 36 causes (causæ), divided into questions (quæstiones), and treat of ecclesiastical administration and marriage; the third question of the 33rd causa treats of the Sacrament of Penance and is divided into 7 distinctions. The third part De consecratione treats of the sacraments and other sacred things and contains 5 distinctions. Each distinction or question contains dicta Gratiani, or maxims of Gratian, and canones. Gratian himself raises questions and brings forward difficulties, which he answers by quoting auctoritates, i. e. canons of councils, decretals of the popes, texts of the Scripture or of the Fathers. These are the canones; the entire remaining portion, even the summaries of the canons and the chronological indications, are called the maxims or dicta Gratiani. Many auctoritates have been inserted in the Decretum by authors of a later date. These are the Paleœ, so called from Paucapalea, the name of the principal commentator on the Decretum. The Roman revisers of the 16th century (1566–82) corrected the text of the "Decree" and added many critical notes designated by the words Correctores Romani.
The Decretum is quoted by indicating the number of the canon and that of the distinction or of the cause and the question. To differentiate the distinctions of the first part from those of the third, question of the 33rd cause of the second part and those of the third part, the words de Pœn., i. e. de Pœnitentiâ, and de Cons., i. e. de Consecratione are added to the latter. For instance, "c. 1. d. XI" indicates the first part of the "Decree". distinction XI, canon 1; "c. 1., de Pœn., d. VI," refers to the second part, 33rd cause, question 3, distinction VI, canon 1; "c. 8, de Cons., d. II" refers to the third part, distinction II, canon 8; "c. 8, C. XII, q. 3" refers to the second part, cause XII, question 3, canon 8. Sometimes, especially in the case of well-known and much-quoted canons, the first words are also indicated, e. g., c. Si quis suadente diabolo, C. XVII, q. 4, i. e. the 29th canon of the second part, cause XVII, question 4. Occasionally the first words alone are quoted. In both cases, to find the canon it is necessary to consult the alphabetical tables (printed in all editions of Gratian) that contain the first words of every canon.
Gratian (Medieval Latin : Gratianus) was a canon lawyer from Bologna. He flourished in the mid 12th century. Little else is known about him.
He is sometimes incorrectly referred to as Franciscus Gratianus,Johannes Gratian, or Giovanni Graziano. For a long time he was believed to have been born at the end of the 11th century, at Chiusi in Tuscany. He was said to have become a monk at Camaldoli and then taught at the monastery of St. Felix in Bologna and devoted his life to studying canon law, but contemporary scholarship does not attach credibility to these traditions. Since the 11th century, Bologna had been the centre of the study of canon law, as well as of Roman law, after the Corpus Juris Civilis was rediscovered in western Europe. Gratian's work was an attempt, using early scholastic method, to reconcile seemingly contradictory canons from previous centuries. Gratian quoted a great number of authorities, including the Bible, papal and conciliar legislation, church fathers such as Augustine of Hippo, and secular law in his efforts to reconcile the canons. Gratian found a place in Dante's Paradise among the doctors of the Church:
This next flamelet issues from Gratian’s smile, he who gave such help to the ecclesiastical and civil spheres as is acceptable in Paradise.
He has long been acclaimed as Pater Juris Canonici (Latin, "Father of Canon Law"), a title he shares with his successor St. Raymond of Penyafort.
The vulgate version of Gratian's collection was completed at some point after the Second Council of the Lateran of 1139, which it quotes. Research by Anders Winroth established that some manuscripts of an early version of Gratian's text, which differs considerably from the mainstream textual tradition, have survived.With later commentaries and supplements, the work was incorporated into the Corpus Juris Canonici . The Decretum quickly became the standard textbook for students of canon law throughout Europe, but it never received any formal, official recognition by the papacy. Only the Codex Juris Canonici of 1917 put it out of use.
As late as 1997, scholars commonly set the date of completion at 1140, but this accuracy in dating isn't possible after Anders Winroth's groundbreaking scholarship.Research by Anders Winroth shows that the Decretum existed in two published recensions. The first dates to sometime after 1139, while the second dates to 1150 at the latest. There are several major differences between the two recensions:
These differences led Winroth to conclude that Roman law was not as far developed by 1140 as scholars had previously thought. He has also argued that the second recension was due not to the original author of the first recension (whom he calls Gratian 1), but rather another jurist versed in Roman law.However, Winroth's thesis of two Gratians remains controversial.
This field of inquiry is hampered by ignorance of the compiler's identity and the existence of manuscripts with abbreviated versions of the text or variant versions not represented by Winroth's two recensions. One of these is the manuscript St. Gall, Stiftsbibliothek, 673 (=Sg), which some have argued contains the earliest known version (borrador) of the Decretum,but which other scholars have argued contains an abbreviation of the first recension expanded with texts taken from the second recension.
Gratian's sources were Roman law, the Bible, the writings of (or attributed to) the Church Fathers, papal decretals, the acts of church councils and synods. In most cases, Gratian obtained the material not from a direct reading of the sources but rather through intermediate collections. Thanks to the research of modern scholars (in particular Charles Munier, Titus Lenherr, and Peter Landau) it is now known that Gratian made use of a relatively-small number of collections in the composition of most of the Decretum:
Other sources are known to have been used in the composition of particular sections of the Decretum:
Gratian himself named his work Concordia Discordantium Canonum – "Concord of Discordancies of Canons." The name is fitting: Gratian tried to harmonize apparently contradictory canons with each other, by discussing different interpretations and deciding on a solution. This dialectical approach allowed for other law professors to work with the Decretum and to develop their own solutions and commentaries. These legists are known as the decretists.
...the Concordance of Discordant Canons or Decretum served the function of giving the canonists a text like that of the Corpus Iuris Civilis for the civilians or the bible for the theologians.
These commentaries were called glosses. Editions printed in the 15th, 16th or 17th centuries frequently included the glosses along with the text. Collections of glosses were called "gloss apparatus" or Lectura in Decretum (see also glossator). Systematic commentaries were called Summae. Some of these Summae were soon in circulation as well and obtained the same level of fame as the Decretum itself. Early commentators included Paucapalea and Magister Rolandus. The most important commentators were probably Rufin of Bologna (died before 1192) and Huguccio (died 1210). Less well-known was the commentary of Simon of Bisignano, which consisted of the Glosses on the Decretum and the Summa Simonis.
Peter Lombard borrowed and adapted from the Decretum when discussing penance in his Sentences (~1150).
The Decretum served as a model for 12th-century jurists in the formation of Western law, based on rational rules and evidence to replace barbaric laws which often involved trial by ordeal or battle.
The Decretum has been called "the first comprehensive and systematic legal treatise in the history of the West, and perhaps in the history of mankind – if by 'comprehensive' is meant the attempt to embrace virtually the entire law of a given polity, and if by 'systematic' is meant the express effort to codify that law as a single body, in which all parts are viewed as interacting to form a whole." The Decretum made a direct contribution to the development of Western law in areas that it dealt with such as marriage, property and inheritance. Specific concepts included consent for marriage, and wrongful intent in determining whether a certain act constituted a crime.
Decretals are letters of a pope that formulate decisions in ecclesiastical law of the Catholic Church.
Irnerius, sometimes referred to as lucerna juris, was an Italian jurist, and founder of the School of Glossators and thus of the tradition of Medieval Roman Law.
The Apostolic Canons or Ecclesiastical Canons of the Same Holy Apostles or Canons of the Holy Apostles is a 4th-century Syrian Christian text. It is an Ancient Church Order, a collection of ancient ecclesiastical canons concerning the government and discipline of the Early Christian Church, allegedly written by the Apostles. They are an appendix to the Apostolic Constitutions. Like the other Ancient Church Orders, the Apostolic Canons use a pseudepigraphic form.
The title canon Episcopi is conventionally given to a certain passage found in medieval canon law. The text possibly originates in an early 10th-century penitential, recorded by Regino of Prüm; it was included in Gratian's authoritative Corpus juris canonici of c. 1140 and as such became part of canon law during the High Middle Ages.
Huguccio was an Italian canon lawyer.
The canon law of the Catholic Church is the system of laws and legal principles made and enforced by the hierarchical authorities of the Catholic Church to regulate its external organization and government and to order and direct the activities of Catholics toward the mission of the Church. It was the first modern Western legal system and is the oldest continuously functioning legal system in the West, while the unique traditions of Eastern Catholic canon law govern the 23 Eastern Catholic particular churches sui iuris.
Gerard la Pucelle was a peripatetic Anglo-French scholar of canon law, clerk, and Bishop of Coventry.
In the history of canon law, a decretist was a student and interpreter of the Decretum Gratiani. Like Gratian, the decretists sought to provide "a harmony of discordant canons", and they worked towards this through glosses (glossae) and summaries (summae) on Gratian. They are contrasted with the decretalists, whose work primarily focused on papal decretals.
The Corpus Juris Canonici is a collection of significant sources of the canon law of the Catholic Church that was applicable to the Latin Church. It was replaced by the 1917 Code of Canon Law which went into effect in 1918. The 1917 Code was later replaced by the 1983 Code of Canon Law, the codification of canon law currently in effect for the Latin Church. In 1990, Eastern Catholic canon law was codified in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, which is currently in effect for the Eastern Catholic Churches.
Collections of ancient canons contain collected bodies of canon law that originated in various documents, such as papal and synodal decisions, and that can be designated by the generic term of canons.
The Decretals of Gregory IX, also collectively called the Liber extra, are a source of medieval Canon Law. In 1230, Pope Gregory IX ordered his chaplain and confessor, St. Raymond of Penyafort, a Dominican, to form a new canonical collection destined to replace the Decretum Gratiani, which was the chief collection of legal writings for the church for over 90 years. It has been said that the pope utilised these letters to emphasize his power over the Universal Church.
Antonio Agustín y Albanell (1516–1586), also referred to as Augustinus, was a Spanish Humanist historian, jurist and Roman Catholic archbishop of Tarragona who pioneered the historical research of the sources of canon law.
Anders Winroth is a professor of medieval history at the University of Oslo and previously taught in the same field at Yale University
The term Extravagantes is applied to the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church, to designate some papal decretals not contained in certain canonical collections which possess a special authority. More precisely, they are not found in Gratian's Decretum or the three official collections of the Corpus Juris Canonici.
Carlo Sebastiano Berardi was an Italian Roman Catholic priest and canon lawyer.
The Summa Parisiensis is an anonymous commentary on the Decretum Gratiani from about 1170.
The Collectio canonum Wigorniensis is a medieval canon law collection originating in southern England around the year 1005. It exists in multiple recensions, the earliest of which — "Recension A" — consists of just over 100 canons drawn from a variety of sources, most predominantly the ninth-century Frankish collection of penitential and canon law known as the Collectio canonum quadripartita. The author of Recension A is currently unknown. Other recensions also exist, slightly later in date than the first. These later recensions are extensions and augmentations of Recension A, and are known collectively as "Recension B". These later recensions all bear the unmistakable mark of having been created by Wulfstan, bishop of Worcester and archbishop of York, possibly sometime around the year 1008, though some of them may have been compiled as late as 1023, the year of Wulfstan's death. The collection treats a range of ecclesiastical and lay subjects, such as clerical discipline, church administration, lay and clerical penance, public and private penance, as well as a variety of spiritual, doctrinal and catechistic matters. Several "canons" in the collection verge on the character of sermons or expository texts rather than church canons in the traditional sense; but nearly every element in the collection is prescriptive in nature, and concerns the proper ordering of society in a Christian polity.
The legal history of the Catholic Church is the history of the oldest continuously functioning legal system in the West, much later than Roman law but predating the evolution of modern European civil law traditions. The history of Latin canon law can be divided into four periods: the jus antiquum, the jus novum, the jus novissimum and the Code of Canon Law. In relation to the Code, history can be divided into the jus vetus and the jus novum. Eastern canon law developed separately.
The word "canon" comes from the Greek kanon, which in its original usage denoted a straight rod that was later the instrument used by architects and artificers as a measuring stick for making straight lines. Kanon eventually came to mean a rule or norm, so that when the first ecumenical council—Nicaea I—was held in 325, kanon started to obtain the restricted juridical denotation of a law promulgated by a synod or ecumenical council, as well as that of an individual bishop.
Catholic canon law is the set of rules and principles (laws) by which the Catholic Church is governed, through enforcement by governmental authorities. Law is also the field which concerns the creation and administration of laws.