The History of Byzantine and Eastern Canon Law to 1500

The History of Byzantine and Eastern Canon Law to 1500


History of Medieval Canon Law

by Wilfried Hartman and Kenneth Pennington

6.00 x 9.00 x 0.00 in

  • Hardcover
  • 9780813216799
  • Published: March 2012


  • eBook
  • 9780813219479
  • Published: March 2012



This newest volume in the History of Medieval Canon Law series surveys the history of Byzantine and Eastern canon law. Beginning in the Patristic Age, Susan Wessel outlines the evolution of ecclesiastical law before the Council of Nicaea (325 A.D.). She covers the earliest documents and councils in the Christian tradition, and concludes that the councils replaced other sources of authority as bishops moved to a more democratic model of church organization.

Heinz Ohme then offers a detailed analysis of the Greek councils and the writings of the Greek Fathers. He treats the sources of canonical material of Byzantine canon law down to the Quinisext Council (Trullanum, 692). Spyros Troianos presents a comprehensive survey of the Greek canonical collections and their compilers from the fourth to the eleventh century. In extending his coverage to 1500, Troianos provides bibliographical and biographical information about the most important Byzantine canonists who remain virtually unknown in English language literature: John Zonaras, Alexios Aristenos, and the Byzantine Gratian, Theodore Balsamon.

With Hubert Kaufhold's contribution, the book also explores the wide range and variety of law in Eastern Christian communities, including Western Syrians (Jacobites), the Copts, Ethiopians, Armenians, Georgians, Nestorians, and Maronites.


Wilfried Hartmann is emeritus professor of the medieval history of canon law at the University of Tübingen. Kenneth Pennington is Kelly-Quinn Professor of Ecclesiastical and Legal History at the Catholic University of America. He is the author of numerous works including Pope and Bishops: The Papal Monarchy in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries and The Prince and the Law, 1200-1600: Sovereignty and Rights in the Western Legal Tradition. Hartmann and Pennington are coeditors of the History of Medieval Canon Law series.

""What we have needed is a way in, a clear and concise introduction to give the neophyte the foundation he or she needs to study the material further. This is precisely what this The History of Byzantine and Eastern Canon Law to 1500 does, but it also does much more, summarizing the history of legal scholarship while presenting the results of the most up-to-date and comprehensive studies. Scholars whose work touches centrally or peripherally on canon law will benefit at least as much as the student seeking an introduction...This book should become a basic component of the church historian's library - indispensable both as a text to be read through in courses on church history and as a reference work." --Speculum