Canon Law and the Western Tradition

index (1)We’re a little late getting to this, but we close out the week with a collection of essays that appeared last fall, honoring Catholic University of America historian Kenneth Pennington, Medieval Church Law and the Origins of the Western Legal TraditionThe collection addresses the contributions medieval canon law has made to the greater legal tradition in the West–a subject we have discussed extensively in our comparative law class this semester, kids. The publisher is the Catholic University in America Press and the editors are Wolfgang Muller (Fordham) and Mary Sommer (Stephan Kuttner Institute of Medieval Canon Law-Munich). Here is the publisher’s description:

In this volume dedicated to medieval canon law expert Kenneth Pennington, leading scholars from around the world discuss the contribution of medieval church law to the origins of the western legal tradition. The stellar cast assembled by editors Wolfgang P. Müller and Mary E. Sommar includes younger scholars as well as long-established specialists in the field. Müller’s introduction provides the first comprehensive survey of investigative trends in the field in more than twenty years.

Subdivided into four topical categories, the essays cover the entire range of the history of medieval canon law from the sixth to the sixteenth century. The first section concentrates on the canonical tradition before the advent of academic legal studies in the twelfth century. The second addresses the formation of canonistic theory. The third and fourth sections consider the intellectual exchanges between canon law and other fields of study, as well as the practical application of canons in day-to-day court proceedings.

Though the twenty-seven essays included in this volume are quite diverse, taken together they provide an outstanding overview of the latest research and cutting-edge scholarship on the topic.

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