Canon law collections in England ca 600-1066: the manuscript evidence

TitleCanon law collections in England ca 600-1066: the manuscript evidence
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsElliot MD
Academic DepartmentCentre for Medieval Studies
Number of Pages1,147
Date Published11/2013
UniversityUniversity of Toronto
Keywords10127-44; olim Cheltenham, 1231; Oxford, 191; Kassel, 4° theol. Qu. 1; København, 58, 644; Bruxelles, 8654-72; Bruxelles, 8vo.; London, Arras, Barlow 37; Oxford, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Bibliothèque Municipale, Bibliothèque Royale, Bodleian Library, Bodley 516; Oxford, Bodley 572; Oxford, British Library, Città del, Cotton Otho A.I; London, Cotton Otho E.XIII; London, E.32; Einsiedeln, Kongelige Bibliotek, Lambeth Palace Library, Landesbibliothek und Murhardsche Bibliothek, Lat. 2141; Wien, Lat. 2147; Würzburg, Laud. misc. 436; Vaticano,\,; Würzburg,; Würzburg, MS 17849; Düsseldorf, Ny Kgl. Saml., Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Pal. Lat. 577; Wien, Phillipps collection, Royal 5.E.XIII; London, Stiftsbibliothek, Universitätsbibliothek
AbstractThis dissertation summarizes the evidence for the use of canon law collections in England during the Christian Anglo-Saxon period, that is ca 600-1066. The method is text-historical, the focus being firstly on the scientific description of the primary evidence, and secondly on the evaluation of that evidence to determine which canon law collections were in circulation in Anglo-Saxon England, and exactly when, where and (in some cases) to whom they may have been available. An attempt is also made (in Chapter 2) to find a place for future discussion of canon law collections within the field of Anglo-Saxon Studies, a field traditionally resistant to this particular aspect of early medieval legal culture. This dissertation has been envisioned as primarily descriptive. Here and there, however, attempts are made to venture beyond mere description of the evidence and explore the broader significance of canon law collections to Anglo-Saxon legal culture as a whole; however, given the still nascent state of the study of Anglo-Saxon canon law, such explorations are very often speculative and can only be considered preliminary to a more detailed investigation into the social, political and institutional significance of the evidence that is herein presented. This is simply to say that the goals of the present study are more humble than might be hoped. A solid foundation, rather than a consummate edifice of historical analysis, is sought after. Indeed, it bears advertising up front that not only has the definitive treatment of Anglo-Saxon canon law yet to be written; in all likelihood, it will still be many years before it is even prudent to attempt such a thing. The appendices contain a number of transcriptions of canon law collections from Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, including the first ever transcriptions of the Collectio Sanblasiana and Collectio Turonensis, as well as transcriptions of Book 4 of the Collectio quadripartita and of the Collectio Wigorniensis (or 'Excerptiones Ecgberhti') in four of its five redactions. The appendices also contain a review of the complex historiography surrounding the latter two collections, as well as case studies of three texts that appear to have been crucial to the development of canon law in the Anglo-Saxon church, namely the Libellus responsionum, the Constitutum Silvestri, and Ecgberht of York's Dialogus. While the appendixed material is intended primarily as support for the broader arguments developed in the dissertation proper, it is also hoped that scholars will find some of that material useful in its own right, and that it will serve to promote further discussion of the importance of canon law collections, especially Continental canon law collections, within the context of Anglo-Saxon history.
Refereed DesignationRefereed
Reference Points
Reference Points: 
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Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, 279
Köln, Erzbischöfliche Diözesan- und Dombibliothek, 213
London, British Library, Cotton Nero A.I
Oxford, Bodleian Library, Bodley 718
Oxford, Bodleian Library, Hatton 42