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Editions for medieval canon law

Councils   Libri paenitentiales   Normative sources after 1100   Works after Gratian   Reprints

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There is only a relatively small number of editions for medieval canon law. Many of them are rather old. In the Patrologia Latina of J.P. Migne canon law texts have been reprinted from old editions, but these are not critical text editions. The situation is more positive for conciliar acts and decrees and the libri paenitentiales, the penitentials. Because of their sheer number references to them have been kept fairly general. The Decretum Gratiani (around 1140) forms the watershed between early and classical canon law. Literature on the decretal collections of the twelfth century is mentioned here, too. For all kinds of sources editions are being prepared. Some of them are in an advanced stage, among others at the Institute of Medieval Canon Law in Munich. I mention some reprints of old editions, because one cannot always consult manuscripts. Clearly these old editions are to be used with caution.


For the early Church councils new editions have appeared in the Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina (published by Brepols). Editions of the Carolingian councils appear from the Monumenta Germaniae Historica at Munich, in their series MGH Concilia. The following older editions of ecumenical councils are still important:

Mansi is certainly the best known, but other old editions of sources on ecclesiastical law are important. They contain not just conciliar acts and decrees, but also sermons and orations during councils:

An introduction and a useful overview, in particular of private collections and provincial synods, is offered by Joseph Avril, 'Les décisions des conciles et synodes', in: Jacques Berlioz et alii (ed.), Identifier sources et citations (Turnhout 1994) 177-189.

For the following (general) councils separate editions exist outside the great series mentioned above:

Two CD-ROMs enhance access to early medieval canonical collections:

Councils   Libri paenitentiales   Normative sources after 1100   Works after Gratian   Reprints

Libri paenitentiales

The penitentials have a special place between purely theological and juridical works. However, their transmission is closely connected with them, and that is why the most important editions are given below in chronological order:

See on penitentials apart from Meens' book the following recent studies:

The following penitentials stem from the late medieval period:

Councils   Libri paenitentiales   Normative sources after 1100   Works after Gratian   Reprints

Normative sources from the twelfth century onwards

  • Decretum Gratiani [“Concordantia discordantium canonum”], in: Corpus Iuris Canonici I, Emil Friedberg (ed.) (Leipzig 1879; reprint Graz 1956) – online at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich.
  • Wortkonkordanz zum Decretum Gratiani, Timothy Reuter and Gabriel Silagi (eds.) (5 vol., München 1990).
  • Decretales Gregorii IX [Liber Extra], in: Corpus Iuris Canonici II, Emil Friedberg (ed.) (Leipzig 1881; reprint Graz 1956) - available online at the Bibliotheca Augustana of Ulrich Harsch, Augsburg, but without annotation.
  • YperLiberExtra - Friedbergs edition of the Liber Extra as a searchable database: one can save and print pages using PDF, and even add one's comments (Università di Catania)
  • Decretales Bonifatii VIII [Liber Sextus], in: Corpus Iuris Canonici II.
  • Clementinae, in: Corpus Iuris Canonici II.
  • Extravagantes communes, in: Corpus Iuris Canonici II. 
  • Extravagantes Johannis XXII, Jacqueline Tarrant (ed.) (Città del Vaticano 1983) - earlier on in: Corpus Iuris Canonici II.

  • Quinque compilationes antiquae, Emil Friedberg (ed.) (Leipzig 1882; reprint 1958) – Friedberg refers to his Corpus Iuris Canonici for all decretals printed there. For a concordance between the "tituli" (sections) of the different collections see Stephan Kuttner, Index titulorum decretalium ex collectionibus tam privatis quam publicis conscriptis (Milan 1977; Ius Romanum Medii Aevi, Subsidia, 2).
  • Ivo of Chartres, Panormia, edited by Bruce Brasington and Martin Brett - Ivo's collection of canons was used by Gratian; this "provisional edition" shows also acutely the difficulties of editing such collections.
  • Ivo of Chartres, Collectio Tripartita, a preliminary edition (PDF) by Martin Brett
  • Ivo of Chartres, Decretum - a preliminary edition (PDF) by Martin Brett
  • Gregory of San Grisogono, Polycarp - an online edition by Horst Fuhrmann, Uwe Horst and Michael Klein of this early twelfth century canonical collection
  • Collectio canonum trium librorum, I: Liber I-II, Joseph Motta and Giorgio Picasso ed. (Città del Vaticano 2005).

The collections of decretals from the twelfth century form a special subject in the study of medieval canon law. Decretals, papal judgments in letter form on cases of ecclesiastical law, have an intricate and complicated transmission before one finds them collected into the great papal collections such as the Liber Extra of Gregory IX in 1234 and the Liber Sextus of Boniface VIII in 1298. The early decretal collections, made by individuals, form a difficult but rewarding field of research, for which the Institute of Medieval Canon Law of Stephan Kuttner, since 1996 housed in Munich, is a very important research institute. Here is an example of a decretal from such an early collection. The ninth century collection of Pseudo-Isidorian decretals is available online, as are the collections created around Benedictus Levita..

Literature on twelfth-century decretal collections

  • Duggan, Charles, Twelfth-century decretal collections and their importance in English history (London, 1963) - review: Peter Landau, Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte, Kanonistische Abteilung (ZRG KA) 51 (1965) 362-375.
  • Duggan, Charles, Canon law in medieval England (London 1982) - reprints of his articles.
  • Duggan, Charles, and Stanley Chodorow (eds.), Decretales ineditae seculi XII. From the papers of the late Walther Holtzmann (Città del Vaticano, 1982) - reviews: Rudolf Weigand, AKKR 151 (1982) 631-634; Peter Landau, ZRG KA 72 (1986) 411-414.
  • Holtzmann, Walther, Studies in the collections of twelfth-century decretals, Mary G. Cheney and Christopher R. Cheney (edd., rev., transl.) (Città del Vaticano, 1979).
  • Kuttner, Stephan, Repertorium der Kanonistik (1140-1234). Prodromus corporis glossarum I (Città del Vaticano, 1937; Studi e Testi 71; several reprints).
  • Landau, Peter, 'Die Entstehung der systematischen Dekretalensammlungen und die europäische Kanonistik des 12. Jahrhunderts', ZRG KA 65 (1979) 120-148.
  • Landau, Peter,  'Dekretalensammlungen des 12. und beginnenden 13. Jahrhunderts', ZRG KA 68 (1982) 453-461.
  • Landau, Peter, 'Vorgratianische Kanonessammlungen bei Dekretisten und in frühen Dekretalensammlungen', Proceedings of the Eight International Congress of Medieval Canon Law, Stanley Chodorow ed. (Città del Vaticano, 1992) 93-116.
  • Landau, Peter, Kanones und Dekretalen (Goldbach, 1997) - reprints of articles with additions.
  • Landau, Peter, 'Rechtsfortbildung im Dekretalenrecht. Typen und Funktionen der Dekretalen des 12. Jahrhunderts', ZRG KA 117 (2000) 86-131.
  • Die Collectio Francofurtana - eine französische Dekretalensammlung, Analyse beruhend auf den Vorarbeiten von Walther Holtzmann, edd. Peter Landau and Gisela Drossbach (Città del Vaticano 2007).

Councils   Libri paenitentiales   Normative sources after 1100   Works after Gratian   Reprints

Works of canonists after Gratian's Decretum

  • Bernardus Papiensis: Bernardi Papiensis Faventini episcopi Summa Decretalium , E.A.Th. Laspeyres (ed.) (Regensburg 1860; reprint Graz 1956)
  • Die Summa magistri Rolandi nachmals Papstes Alexander III., Friedrich Thaner (ed.) (Innsbruck 1874) – not by Rolandus Baldinelli, the future pope Alexander III.. 
  • [Vacarius?],’ Magistri Vacarii Summa de matrimonio’, Frederic William Maitland (ed.), Law Quarterly Review 13 (1887) 133-143, 270-287.
  • Paucapalea: Die Summa des Paucapalea, F. von Schulte (ed.) (Giessen 1890; reprint Aalen 1965).
  • Raymundus de Pennaforte, Summa iuris canonici, X. Ochoa and A. Diez (eds.) (Rome 1975) - 1218-1221, incomplete summa.
  • Rufinus, Summa decretorum, Heinrich Singer (ed.) (Paderborn 1902; reprint Aalen 1963)
  • The Summa Parisiensis on the Decretum Gratiani, Terence P. McLaughlin (ed.) (Toronto 1952).
  • Summa "Elegantius in iure diuino" seu Coloniensis, Stephan Kuttner and Gérard Fransen (eds.) (4 vols., New York- Città del Vaticano 1969-1990).
  • Stephanus Tornacensis (1128-1203), Die Summa des Stephanus Tornacensis über das Decretum Gratian, Johann Friedrich von Schulte (ed.) (Giessen 1891; reprint Aalen 1965) – edition of a part of this summa.
  • Johannes Teutonicus (Johannes von Halberstadt), Johannis Teutonici Apparatus glossarum in Compilationem Tertiam, I (libri 1-3), Kenneth Pennington (ed.) (Città del Vaticano 1981) – libri 3-5 have been published already at Pennington’s website.
  • Brendan McManus, The Ecclesiology of Laurentius Hispanus and his contribution to the Romanization of canon law jurisprudence, with an Edition of Laurentius's Apparatus glossarum in Compilationem tertiam (Ph.D. Diss., Syracuse University 1991) Part II.
  • Die Glossen zum Dekret Gratians : Studien zu den frühen Glossen und Glossenkompositionen, Rudolf Weigand (ed.) (2 vols., Rome 1991; Studia Gratiana 25-26).
  • Distinctiones Monacenses, Rosalba Sorice (ed.) (Città del Vaticano 2002) – a few years ago A.J. de Groot published also an edition: Distinctiones "Si mulier eadem hora"seu Monacenses (Nijmegen 1996).
  • Animal est substantia (Summa Bambergensis) - early thirteenth century; edition in PDF-form by E.C. Coppens, Nijmegen.
  • Simon van Bisignano, Summa - edition by Pier Aimone, Fribourg.
  • Vincentius Hispanus, Apparatus ad Lateranum IV - with the edition of Lateran IV [García y García 1981].
  • Johannes Teutonicus, Apparatus ad Lateranum IV - with the edition of Lateran IV [García y García 1981].
  • Magistri Honorii Summa 'De iure canonico tractaturus', Bd. 1, Rudolf Weigand (+), Peter Landau, Waltraud Kozur, et alii (eds.) (Città del Vaticano 2004) - written around 1188.
  • Kersten A. Jacobi, Der Ehetraktat des Magisters Rolandus von Bologna : Redaktionsgeschichtliche Untersuchung und Edition (Studienausgabe) (diss. Bremen 2003; Hamburg 2004).
  • Huguccio Pisanus Summa Decretorum, Tom. I, Dist. 1-20, edd. Oldrich Prerovský et alii (Città del Vaticano 2006) -  around1180-1190.
  • Summa 'Omnis qui iuste iudicat' sive Lipsiensis, T. 1, edd. Rudolf Weigand (+), Peter Landau, Waltraud Kozur; adll. Stephan Haering, Karin Miethaner-Vent, Martin Petzolt (Città del Vaticano 2007) - composed in 1186.

Councils   Libri paenitentiales   Normative sources after 1100   Works after Gratian   Reprints


  • Baldus de Ubaldis, Ad tres priores libros decretalium commentaria (Lugduni 1585; reprint Aalen 1970) - also edition Venetiis: Iunta, 1595 (reprint Turin 1971).
  • Goffredus de Trani, Summa super titulis Decretalium (Lugduni: Moylim, 1519) - reprint Aalen 1968, 1992.
  • Hostiensis (Henricus de Segusio), Summa aurea (Lugduni: Paganum, 1537) - reprint Aalen 1962.
  • Hostiensis (Henricus de Segusio), Summa aurea (Venetiis 1574) - reprint Turin 1975.
  • Hostiensis (Henricus de Segusio), Lectura (Venetiis 1581) - reprint Turin 1965; a commentary on the Liber Extra.
  • Innocentius IV, Commentaria in V. libris decretalium (Francofurti ad Moenam 1570) - reprint Frankfurt am Main 1968.
  • Johannes Andreae, Novella super sexto Decretalium (Venetiis: Pincius, 1499) - reprint Graz 1963.
  • Johannes Andreae, In I.[-V.] Decretalium Novella...commentaria (Venetiis: Franciscus, 1581) - reprint 4 vols., Turin 1966.
  • Johannes Monachus (Jean le Moine),  Glosa aurea...super VI. libro decretalium (Parisiis 1535) - reprint Aalen 1968.

Councils   Libri paenitentiales   Normative sources after 1100   Works after Gratian   Reprints

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