Info

The fifth century was marked by the gradual acceptance of the Eastern conciliar canons in Rome. Latin translations were made of the canons of the Greek councils, and they began to circulate widely as authoritative texts. By the pontificate of Pope Gelasius I (492-96), the sources of canonical norms in the West were widely scattered in different languages and codices. For the first time, attempts were made to compile a collection of canonical texts. The most famous of these was made by a learned Greek, Dionysius Exiguus, who arrived in Rome at the end ofthe century. Since he was fluent in both Latin and Greek, his first task was to provide fresh and accurate translations for the texts of the Greek councils. He produced at least two translations of the conciliar canons of the Greek churches and published them in three versions, the third version known only indirectly from one manuscript. Taking as his basis the old Greek Corpus canonum (as mentioned above) and adding the Canons of the apostles and canons and correspondence relating to the Council of Carthage (419), Dionysius arranged the text chronologically and supplied an index ordered according to subject matter that facilitated consultation.28 In the third and final version of his collection of canons, commissioned by Pope Hormisdas (sed. 514-23), Dionysius placed Greek and Latin versions ofthe texts in the book so that readers could compare them. This collection is no longer extant. He also compiled a collection of forty-one papal decretals that presented decretal letters from Pope Siricius (sed. 384-99) to Pope Anastasius II (sed. 496-8) in chronological order.

Both the early versions of the collections of conciliar canons and his collection of decretals were probably composed during the so-called 'Laurentian schism' that deeply divided the Roman church. Dionysius ultimately combined these two works in a corpus canonum that scholars have given the name Collectio Dionysiana. It was not an official collection of canonical norms -private collections would remain the only vehicles for preserving and disseminating canonical texts until the thirteenth century - but it circulated widely. Thirty-four manuscripts of the collection (a remarkably high number) still exist in European libraries. Later canonists supplemented the Collectio Dionysiana. Even more importantly, Pope Hadrian I (sed. 772-95) sent an augmented copy of the Collectio Dionysiana to Charlemagne that is known as the Collectio Dionysiana-Hadriana. Although other collections of canonical texts were also used in the Carolingian period, the Dionysiana-Hadriana enjoyed enormous popularity in Northern Europe from the ninth to the eleventh

28 Dionysius' first collection is edited by A. Strewe, Die Canonessammlung. The second is only available in G. Voellus and H. Justellus, Biblioteca iuris canonice veteris, i: 101-74 (councils) and i83-248 (decretals).

0 0

Post a comment