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date: 16 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores a significant period in the formation, teaching, and application of canon law. Firstly, it marked the emergence of a universal body of Western canon law which remained in force among Catholics down to 1917; and the chapter will survey recent scholarly debate about the development of this corpus of canon law. Secondly, universities appeared and established the systematic teaching and study of canon (and civil) law. Canon law collections were often compiled in this milieu, and university teachers produced commentaries and other literature on this law, which influenced how it was interpreted and applied in practice. Thirdly, regular church courts emerged across Western Europe as forums for settling disputes and prosecuting crimes that came under canon law. These courts formed an international hierarchy with the papal Curia at its apex, the highest ecclesiastical court of appeal, and stretching down to bishops’ and archdeacons’ courts at diocesan level.

Keywords: papacy, bishops, universities, Gratian, decretals, canonists, courts, jurisdiction

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