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date: 21 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers the historical development of medieval canon law. The term ‘canon law’ refers to the body of law developed by the Catholic Church to govern the body of Christ on earth. In time, canon law came to designate the totality of laws, legislation, judicial processes, and institutions promulgated by the Church and enforced by its officers upon Christians, and sometimes non-Christians. This chapter covers the successes of canonists in consolidating their text base and laying the ground for an increasing professionalization of their discipline; the professional competition between canonists and theologians, which emerged in part out of a divide between those who understood the Church as a pastoral institution and those that understood it as a rigorously hierarchical administrative entity; and the emergence of new legal practices.

Keywords: legal history, medieval canon law, Catholic Church, lawyers, canonists, theologians

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