Academic journal article Medium Aevum

A Sip from the 'Well of Grace': Medieval Texts from the Apostolic Penitentiary

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

A Sip from the 'Well of Grace': Medieval Texts from the Apostolic Penitentiary

Article excerpt

Kirsi Salonen and Ludwig Schmugge, A Sip from the 'Well of Grace': Medieval Texts from the Apostolic Penitentiary, Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Canon Law 7 (Washington, DC: CathoHc University of America Press, 2009). ix + 196 pp. ISBN 978-0-8132-1535-8. $29.95.

This is the best short introduction to one of the most exciting categories of medieval sources, Penitentiary documents. The medieval registers of the ApostoHc Penitentiary have been the subject of intensive research in the last quarter of a century. The two biggest contributions have been made by teams under the direction of Professor Schmugge, and Scandinavians, especially from Finland. Schmugge's work exempHfies the kind of team research at which German medieval scholarship has long excelled. Few AHRC projects have produced anything remotely comparable to the volumes emanating from Schmugge's enterprise. The Finnish contribution - one could speak of the 'Tampere School' - is more surprising. Schmugge's influence Hes behind it too, but the attraction of these sources to Finns makes sense when one reaHzes that Penitentiary documentation greatly expands the total source base for the later medieval history of the region. These two streams of scholarship were closely interlaced and come together with particular success in this admirable short book. It is designed to teach beginners, as was the Summa theologica of Aquinas, but even those very famiHar with the Penitentiary registers will learn a great deal from it. …

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