English canonist; educated about 1190 at Paris, where he studied under Peter the Chanter. He spent a period in the service of the bishop of London before becoming, on Oct. 15, 1206, perpetual vicar of Sturminster Marshal, Dorset, in the diocese of Salisbury. Shortly afterward he became subdean of Salisbury, an office he filled until at least 1239. He is the author of a Summa de arte predicandi and of many sermons, still unpublished, but is chiefly known for a Summa for confessors that was written about 1222, possibly as a pendant to the synodal statutes of his diocesan, Richard Poore. This Summa is extant in some 85 manuscripts, and has been printed twice, at Cologne and Louvain in 1485. It was so celebrated that it was often ascribed to writers such as Rabanus Maurus, John of Salisbury, Innocent IV, or Thomas Aquinas. Chabham, breaking away in the Summa from the cut–and–dried schemata of the traditional penitential literature and from a too juridical approach to the confessional, gives valuable advice to priests on their lives as pastors, telling them what they should know and do, and what virtues they should inculcate in their penitents. Hence, while professing to be nothing more than a Summa de poenitentia, Chabham's Summa is in effect a manual of the pastoral care in general, the first of a new style of pastoral manual.
Bibliography: h. f. rubel, "Chabham's Penitential and Its Influence in the 13th Century," Publications of the Modern Language Association, 40 (1925) 225–239. j. c. russell, Dictionary of Writers of Thirteenth Century England (New York 1936) 159. c. r. cheney, English Synodalia of the 13th Century (Oxford 1941) 49, 54. t. kaeppeli, "Un Recueil de sermons prêchés à Paris et en Angleterre, " Archivum Fratrum Praedicatorum, 26 (1956) 161–191. p. michaud–quantin, Sommes des casuistique et manuels de confession au Moyen Age (Louvain 1962).
[l. e. boyle]