The Old English Penitentials and Anglo-Saxon Law - Studies in Legal History (Hardback)
  • The Old English Penitentials and Anglo-Saxon Law - Studies in Legal History (Hardback)
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The Old English Penitentials and Anglo-Saxon Law - Studies in Legal History (Hardback)

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£69.99
Hardback 247 Pages / Published: 19/05/2015
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Some of the earliest examples of medieval canon law are penitentials - texts enumerating the sins a confessor might encounter among laypeople or other clergy and suggesting means of reconciliation. Often they gave advice on matters of secular law as well, offering judgments on the proper way to contract a marriage or on the treatment of slaves. This book argues that their importance to more general legal-historical questions, long suspected by historians but rarely explored, is most evident in an important (and often misunderstood) subgroup of the penitentials: composed in Old English. Though based on Latin sources - principally those attributed to Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury (d.690) and Halitgar of Cambrai (d.831) - these texts recast them into new ordinances meant to better suit the needs of English laypeople. The Old English penitentials thus witness to how one early medieval polity established a tradition of written vernacular law.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781107083417
Number of pages: 247
Weight: 480 g
Dimensions: 235 x 159 x 19 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
'This stimulating and original book makes use of the Old English Penitentials to examine important aspects of Anglo-Saxon legal, social, and religious culture. The Old English Penitentials diverge significantly from their Latin sources, and the specific divergences may indicate ecclesiastical attitudes in Anglo-Saxon England. Particularly interesting are the book's discussions of the laws of marriage and of slavery. The volume is a very welcome extension to the range of reading available to Anglo-Saxonists.' John Hudson, University of St Andrews
'Many people think Law sets life's rules. But the same churchmen who wrote law codes for kings gave moral instructions to all Christians. The Old English Penitentials told people what they must pay for their sins. Stefan Jurasinski intelligently re-inserts these penances into the conversation on Anglo-Saxon law to make it a single discourse again.' Paul Hyams, Cornell University, New York

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