views updated


A decretalist is a canonist in the history of Canon Law whose main object of study was papal decretals (epistolae decretales, papal replies or mandates of a canonical nature). The term is particularly applicable in the formative stages of canonistic science c. 120034 (see canon law, history of, 4). Decretalists are distinguished from decretists, whose primary object of study was the legal tradition of the Church as contained in the Decretum of gratian. The decretalists of the Middle Ages had a twofold concern: the searching out and collecting of decretals (see decretals, collections of) and the systematic and scientific exposition of the Canon Law contained in the decretals. There are three main periods of decretalist activity: the first period (c. 11601200) is primarily concerned with the collection of decretals; the second period (c. 120034) is marked by the development in the nature and organization of the decretal collections, as well as by the beginning of decretal exegesis; and the third period (12341348) is almost solely concerned with decretal exegesis.

Collection Decretalists (c. 1160c. 1200). For most of this period canonists were preoccupied with assimilating and presenting the legal tradition of the Church as conveyed by Gratian's Decretum. Decretalist scholarship, in contrast to widespread decretal research, was negligible. Decretals were employed, of course, from simon of bisignano (c. 1177) onward in decretist glosses, summae, and quaestiones, at Bologna and Paris, but there were no explicit commentaries on decretals as such. In fact, all major systematic collections of decretals before the Breviarium extravagantium (Compilation prima ) of Bernard of Pavia (119192) were ignored by Bolognese glossators, though Bernard naturally used his own earlier Parisiensis II. This was not quite the case in England, where almost half of the more than 30 collections before the Breviarium were compiled. Thus the Appendix concilii lateranensis (118185), which played a formative role in late 12th-century collections that reached, by way of the French Bambergensis, to Bernard's Compilatio itself, was used by Anglo-Norman decretists in their summae (possibly also in their glosses), notably in In nomine and De iure canonico tractaturus (118090) and in the Summa decretalium quaestionum of honorius ma gister (118690). Even after the Breviarium had been made a subject of teaching at Bologna (c. 1196), Anglo-Norman, and to a lesser extent Franco-Rhenish, schools continued to cling to their own systematic collections: the "Tanner" collection succeeded the Appendix between 1190 and 1200; the Collectio Sangermanensis (c. 1198) possibly represents an attempt to rival Bernard's Compilatio. More importantly, Anglo-Norman decretists composed glosses on the Appendix as such. This pointed

the way, possibly, to the great era of decretalist scholarship that, with the participation of canonists of Anglo-Norman background, such as richard de mores, and centering around Bernard's Compilatio prima, flourished at Bologna from about 1200.

Compilation Decretalists (c. 120034). In the first 30 years of the 13th century many collections of decretals were made at Bologna to supplement the Compilatio prima, four of which were accepted by the schools as basic texts (compilationes ): the Tertia antiqua of petrus collivaccinus, authorized by Innocent III (1210); the Secunda antiqua of john of wales (121012); the Quarta antiqua of joannes teutonicus (121516); and the Quinta antiqua, commissioned from Tancred by Honorius III and published in 1226 (see quinque compila tiones antiquae). To these years belong both the first true period of decretalist scholarship as such and the great, classic moment of decretist exegesis. These and lesser collections (e.g., of gilbertus anglicus, 120203; Alanus Anglicus, c. 1206; bernard of com postella the elder, Compilatio romana, 1208) occasioned a flow of decretalist writing that appeared for a moment to paralyze decretist activity, but that in fact served to stimulate it in an extraordinary manner; indeed, more often than not the decretalist pioneer was also a consummate decretist, e.g., Alanus Anglicus, Joannes Teutonicus. It was in these years that the most advanced and characteristic glossatorial technique of all, the apparatus glossarum or systematic, continuous gloss, was adopted. Each compilation in turn, as well as the Collectio of canons of Fourth Lateran Council (1215), excited decretalist attention, chiefly at Bologna, and many decretalists commented on more than one compilation.

The following are the principal decretalist commentaries on the important canonical compilations of this period: (1) Compilatio prima: besides the Casus decretalium of Richard de Mores (119298) and a Summa of Bernard of Pavia himself (119298), there are glossae from Bernard, Pelagius of Spain (c. 1206), Bernard of Compostella the Elder (120506), Martin of Zamora (c. 1217), and William Vasco of Gascony (c. 1220), and apparatus from Richard de Mores (119498, outstanding), Peter of Spain the Elder (c. 1198), the anonymous Militant siquidem patroni (120310, French), lawrence of spain (c. 1210), vincent of spain (c. 1210), Tancred (121015; revised forms 121620: glossa ordinaria ), and Damasus of Hungary (c. 1215; Recens, c. 1215). (2) Compilatio secunda: glosses from Alanus Anglicus (c. 121012), Vincent of Spain (121015), and Damasus (c. 1215); apparatus from Albertus (121015), Lawrence of Spain (1210), and Tancred (two forms, 121015 and 121520; ordinaria ). (3) Compilatio tertia: apparatus from John of Wales (121015), Lawrence, Vincent (121015), Joannes Teutonicus (c. 1217), Tancred (lecture notes, c. 1216; personal recension, 1220: ordinaria ), and Damasus (unidentified); casus from Vincent. (4) Canons of Fourth Lateran Council: apparatus from Vincent of Spain (two recensions, 121620), Joannes Teutonicus (c. 121617), Damasus, Lawrence (?), and the anonymous Quoniam omnes quaestionum articuli. (5) Compilatio quarta: Joannes Teutonicus (121517, glossa ordinaria ), Peter of Spain the Younger (notabilia ), and William Vasco (glosses). (6) Compilatio quinta: apparatus of james of albenga (c. 1230; chief glossator) and Zoën, and glosses of Tancred, Lawrence of Spain, and Joannes Teutonicus. Other writings included glosses by Gilbertus Anglicus on his own collection, the Quaestiones of Bernard of Compostella, Damasus, and Joannes Teutonicus, a Summa iuris canonici of raymond of peÑafort (c. 1220), monographic treatises, e.g., Tancred's de matrimonio and ordo iudiciarius.

Gregorian and Post-Gregorian Decretalists (12341348). With the definitive collection of decretal letters made by Raymond of Peñafort for Gregory IX (see gregory ix, decretals of), the age of decretal research came to a close. Though they did not fail to draw upon the decretist-decretalists who had wrestled with the old superseded collections and compilations, canonists were now free to concentrate on scholarship and interpretation. Bologna continued to hold its place, and with some exceptions the literary techniques were those established by the decretists (glossa, summa, quaestio ) and decretalists (apparatus ).

Decretals of Gregory IX. The following productions are based on the Decretals of Gregory IX: (1) apparatus: Vincent of Spain (c. 123435), Godfrey of Trani (c. 1245), bernard of parma (glossa ordinaria, 1241; revised 126366), innocent iv (Sinibaldus Fieschi; 124651, 1253); (2) summae: Joannes de Petesella (c. 123536), Godfrey of Trani (124143), Henry of Merseburg (c. 1245), hostiensis (henry of segusio), the Summa aurea or copiosa (exhaustive and influential, begun 1239, completed 1253), and Baldwin of Brandenburg (c. 1270); (3) Lecturae: William Naso (c. 1234), Peter of Sampson (c. 124653), joannes de deo (c. 1248), Abbas antiquus (bernard of montmirat; 125966), bernard of compostella the younger (126167), Hostiensis (127071), Boatinus of Mantua, and many others down to Joannes Andreae (novella, c. 1338). Other productions based on the Decretals of Gregory IX include Casus, Distinctiones, Notabilia, Ordines Iudiciarii, Quaestiones, Repertoria, Reportationes, Specula, Tabulae, and a unique Summa summarum from the now listless English schools (william of pagula, Oxford 131921).

Post-Gregorian Decretalists (12451348). The volume of commentary on post-Gregorian collections of decretals, constitutions, and conciliar legislation is no less impressive: (1) Novellae of Innocent IV (124354): apparatus from Godfrey of Trani (c. 1245) and Innocent IV (c. 1251); the glossa ordinaria from Bernard of Compostella the Younger (c. 1254); lecturae from Peter of Sampson (125055), Bernard of Montmirat (c. 1260), Hostiensis (c. 1253), and Boatinus of Mantua (c. 1274).(2) Novissimae of Gregory X (1274; 2 Lyons): apparatus from Joannes Garsias (c. 1280); lecturae from Joannes de Anguissola, William duranti the Elder, Franciscus de Albano, and Boatinus of Mantua (all c. 127484). (3) liber sextus of Boniface VIII (1298): apparatus from john le moine (1301), joannes andreae (1301); ordinaria ), and guido de baysio (130611); lecturae from William of Mont Lauzun (130616), Joannes de Borbonio (130817), Zenzelinus de Cassanis (c. 1317), Lapus Tactus (c. 1320), Pierre bertrand (combined lectura on Sextus, Clementinas, and Extravagantes, after 1334), Joannes Andreae (133842), alberic of rosate (c. 1340). (4) clementinae (1317): apparatus from Joannes Andreae (1322; ordinaria ) and Zenzelinus de Cassanis (1323); lecturae from William of Mont Lauzun (1319), Stephanus Hugoneti (132430), Lapus Tactus (c. 1320), Mattheus of Rome (c. 1320), paulus de liazari is (before 1330), and Joannes Calderini (c. 1335). (5) ex travagantes (131725) of John XXII: apparatus from William of Mont Lauzun (1319, three constitutions) and Zenzelinus de Cassanis (1325, 20 constitutions).

Bibliography: j. f. von schulte, Die Geschichte der Quellen und der Literatur des kanonischen Rechts, 3 v. in 4 pts. (Stuttgart 187580; repr. Graz 1956) v. 12. s. kuttner, Repertorium der Kanonistik (Studi et Test ; Rome 1937) 71. a. van hove, Commentarium Lovaniense in Codicem iuris canonici 1, v.15 (Mechlin 1928); v.1 Prolegomena (2d ed. 1945) 1:35277, 42836. a. m. stickler, Historia iuris canonici latini: v.1 Historia fontium (Turin 1950) 21772. a. m. stickler, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 5:12891362. s. kuttner, "Bernardus Compostellanus Antiquus," Traditio 1 (1943) 277340; "Notes on a Projected Corpus of 12th Century Decretal Letters," ibid. 6 (1948) 34551. s. kuttner and e. rathbone, "Anglo-Norman Canonists of the 12th Century," ibid. 7 (194951) 279358. a. garcÍa garcÍa, "El Concilo IV de Letrán y sus commentarios," ibid. 14 (1958) 49398. w. holtzmann, "Zu der Dekretalen bei Simon von Bisignano," ibid. 18 (1962) 45059. c. duggan, "English Canonists and the 'Appendix Concilii Lateranensis,"' ibid. 45968. t. p. mclaughlin, "The Extravagantes in the Summa of Simon of Bisignano," Mediaeval Studies 20 (1958) 16776. See bibliography and notes in the Bulletin of the Institute of Research and Study in Medieval Canon Law in Traditio 11 (1955). g. le bras et al., L'Âge classique, 11401378. Sources et théorie du droit (Histoire du droit et des institutions de l'Église en Occident 7; Paris 1965).

[l. e. boyle]

About this article


Updated About content Print Article Share Article