Rufinus (decretist)

Last updated
Scale of justice, canon law.svg
Part of a series on the
Canon law of the
Catholic Church

046CupolaSPietro.jpg Catholicismportal

Rufinus was an Italian canon lawyer, described as the most influential canonist at the University of Bologna in the mid 12th century. [1] He composed a Summa on Gratian's Decretum before 1159, [2] which soon became the most influential commentary in Bologna, surpassing all previous ones in detail and length. [3]

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 Oriental canon law govern the 23 Eastern Catholic particular churches sui iuris.

University of Bologna university in Bologna, Italy

The University of Bologna, founded in 1088 by an organised guild of students, is the oldest university of the world, as well as one of the leading academic institutions in Italy and Europe. It is one of the most prestigious Italian universities, commonly ranking in the first places of national rankings.

<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.

Stephen of Tournai, his pupil, quoted from his Summa several times. [4]

Stephen of Tournai,, was a Canon regular of Sainte-Geneviève (Paris), and Roman Catholic canonist who became bishop of Tournai in 1192.

Related Research Articles

Fourth Council of the Lateran synod

The Fourth Council of the Lateran was convoked by Pope Innocent III with the papal bull Vineam domini Sabaoth of 19 April 1213, and the Council gathered at Rome's Lateran Palace beginning 11 November 1215. Due to the great length of time between the Council's convocation and meeting, many bishops had the opportunity to attend. It is considered by the Catholic Church to have been the twelfth ecumenical council and is sometimes called the "Great Council" or "General Council of Lateran" due to the presence of 71 patriarchs and metropolitan bishops, 412 bishops, 900 abbots and priors together with representatives of several monarchs.

Pope Alexander III 12th-century Pope

Pope Alexander III, born Roland of Siena, was Pope from 7 September 1159 to his death in 1181.

Irnerius Italian jurist

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.

Summa and its diminutive summula was a medieval didactics literary genre written in Latin, born during the 12th century, and popularized in 13th century Europe. In its simplest sense, they might be considered texts that 'sum up' knowledge in a field, such as the compendiums of theology, philosophy and canon law. Their function during the Middle ages was largely as manuals or handbooks of necessary knowledge used by individuals who would not advance their studies any further.

Astesanus of Asti was an important Franciscan canon lawyer and theologian, from Asti in Piedmont. His major work is Summa de casibus conscientiae, a confessional work, in manuscript from around 1317 and comprising eight volumes and three indices. Its writing is said to have been at the prompting of Cardinal Giovanni Gaetano Orsini.

Huguccio was an Italian canon lawyer.

Gerard la Pucelle was a peripatetic Anglo-French scholar of canon law, clerk, and Bishop of Coventry.

Henry of Segusio, usually called Hostiensis, was an Italian canonist of the thirteenth century, born at Susa (Segusio), in the ancient Diocese of Turin. He died at Lyon.

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", 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.

Guido de Baysio was an Italian canonist.

Athanasius II Baldoyo, also known as Athanasius of Balad and Athanasius of Nisibis, was the Patriarch of Antioch, and head of the Syriac Orthodox Church from 683 until his death in 686.

Bernardus Papiensis was an Italian canonist and bishop of the Christian Church.

Bartholomew of Brescia was an Italian canonist.

Johann Friedrich von Schulte German legal historian and professor of canon law

Johann Friedrich von Schulte was a German legal historian and professor of canon law who was born in Winterberg, Westphalia. He was a leading authority on Catholic canon law.

Simon of Bisignano was a teacher of canon law in Bologna in the 1170s. He composed a Summa on the Decretum Gratiani between March 1177 and March 1179. Like Paucapalea, he, too, might have been a student of Gratian himself.

Honorius of Kent was a medieval English Archdeacon of Richmond and canon lawyer.

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.


  1. Hartmann and Pennington, pp. 135–136.
  2. Rufinus, Die “Summa Decretorum” des Magister Rufinus, ed. H. Singer, Paderborn 1902, p. LXVII, n. 9
  3. Law in the West After Gratian: The Age of the Decretists A Short History of Canon Law from Apostolic Times to 1917, Kenneth Pennington, The Catholic University of America. Accessed 21 April 2019.
  4. J. F. von Schulte, Die Geschichte der Quellen und Literatur des Canonischen Rechts von Gratian bis auf die Gegenwart, 3 vols, Stuttgart 1875-1880, I, p. 123 and n. 6, and p. 134.