Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Law and Liturgy in the Latin Church, 5th-12th Centuries

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Law and Liturgy in the Latin Church, 5th-12th Centuries

Article excerpt

Law and Liturgy in the Latin Church, 5th-12th Centuries. By Roger E. Reynolds. [Variorum Collected Studies series, CS 457.] (Brookfield, Vermont: Variorum, Ashgate Publishing Company. 19694. Pp. xxi, 318. $89.95.)

Canon law collections are arguably the single most important source for the thought and activity of western Christian society over a millennium of its history, containing not only legal texts, but much else reflecting Christian norms of behavior, belief, and practice. Liturgical commentaries are found in canon law collections because interpretation quickly came to be added to legislation on the liturgy. The theme of the essays collected here is that the study of the liturgy in the Middle Ages was carried out largely in the domain of canon law.

Roger Reynolds, distinguished historian of the liturgy and of canon law, is recognized internationally for his pioneer work in identifying and exploiting the contents of myriad unpublished canonical collections from the fifth through the twelfth centuries in his pursuit of liturgical commentaries. In this small selection of his prodigious writing over the past quarter-century, Reynolds exposes the interest of canon law collections for both specialists and non-specialists. Some samples: in "Unity and Diversity in Carolingian Canon Law Collections: The Case of the 'Collectio Hibernensis' and its Derivatives" he shows that the Irish "Collectio Hibernensis" Did not disappear with the Carolingian Reform and the effort to encourage Roman models, but flourished in areas of Charlemagne's domains with long Celtic traditions, and even close to Rome, in central and southern Italy. In "Canon Law Collections in Early Ninth-century Salzburg," Reynolds' vast knowledge of "para-canonical" texts--patristic and early medieval texts that were incorporated into canon law collections--helps one to see how canonical collections functioned as living guides for the clergy, changing their contents to meet the clergy's needs. …

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