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Simon of Bisignano


Canonist; b. early 12th century, Bisignano in Calabria; date and place of death unknown. He was a student at Bologna, quite possibly of Gratian, and magister there. In addition to numerous glossae on the Decretum of gra tian he left a Summa covering all parts of that work except the De poenitentia. It belongs to the late 1170s (possibly 11771179). It is a work of great originality and the product of a competent and mature canonist. Simon is responsible for introducing an extensive use of the newer papal legislation since the time of Gratian. On more than 175 occasions he cites excerpts from the decretals of which more than 60 are of Alexander III. Simon seems to have regarded the Decretum of Gratian as the ancient law that could be and must be brought up-to-date by present and future legislators. Abrogations, derogations, modifications to the law of the past are to be expected. In this he was followed by sicardus of cremona, the Summa Lipsiensis, huguccio, and all later canonists. It is interesting also to note that by more than 50 references to the Decretum of burchard of worms he testifies to the continuing use of that work and also indicates the view that Gratian did not contain all the ancient law. Though he made use of the teaching of earlier decretists he rarely refers to them by name. The Summa exercised considerable influence upon the development of the canonical method and has survived in at least eight manuscripts. An edition is being prepared.

Bibliography: s. kuttner, Repertorium der Kanonistik 148149. j. f. v. schulte, Die Geschichte der Quellen und der Literatur des kanonischen Rechts 1:140142. j. juncker, "Die Summa des Simon von Bisignano und seine Glossen," Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte, Germanistische Abteilung 15 (1926) 326500. t. p. mclaughlin, "The Extravagantes in the Summa of Simon of Bisignano," Mediaeval Studies 20 (1958) 167176. w. holtzmann, "Zu den Dekretalen bei Simon von Bisignano," Traditio 18 (1962) 450459.

[t. p. mclaughlin]

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