Gratian (jurist)

Gratian (jurist)

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Gratian, was a 12th century canon law
Canon law (Catholic Church)
The canon law of the Catholic Church, is a fully developed legal system, with all the necessary elements: courts, lawyers, judges, a fully articulated legal code and principles of legal interpretation. It lacks the necessary binding force present in most modern day legal systems. The academic...

yer from Bologna
Bologna
Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

. He is sometimes incorrectly referred to as Franciscus Gratianus, Johannes Gratianus, or Giovanni Graziano. The dates of his birth and death are unknown.

Since the 11th century, Bologna had been the centre of the study of canon law
Canon law
Canon law is the body of laws & regulations made or adopted by ecclesiastical authority, for the government of the Christian organization and its members. It is the internal ecclesiastical law governing the Catholic Church , the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches, and the Anglican Communion of...

, as well as of civil law
Civil law (legal system)
Civil law is a legal system inspired by Roman law and whose primary feature is that laws are codified into collections, as compared to common law systems that gives great precedential weight to common law on the principle that it is unfair to treat similar facts differently on different...

, after the Corpus Juris Civilis
Corpus Juris Civilis
The Corpus Juris Civilis is the modern name for a collection of fundamental works in jurisprudence, issued from 529 to 534 by order of Justinian I, Eastern Roman Emperor...

was rediscovered in western Europe. Little is known about Gratian's life. For a long time he was believed to have been born at the end of the 11th century, at Chiusi
Chiusi
Chiusi is a town and comune in province of Siena, Tuscany, Italy.-History:It was one of the more powerful among the Etruscan 12‑city confederation...

 in Tuscany
Tuscany
Tuscany is a region in Italy. It has an area of about 23,000 square kilometres and a population of about 3.75 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence ....

. He was said to have become a monk at Camaldoli
Camaldoli
Camaldoli is a frazione of the comune of Poppi, in Tuscany, Italy. It is mostly known as the ancestral seat of the Camaldolese monastic order, originated in the eponymous hermitage, which can still be visited....

 and then he taught at the monastery
Monastery
Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer as well as the domestic quarters and workplace of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone .Monasteries may vary greatly in size – a small dwelling accommodating only...

 of St. Felix in Bologna and devoted his life to studying canon law. Recent research has found no foundation for this view.

His compilation, the Concordia discordantium canonum (Concord of Discordant Canons), later simply named the Decretum
Decretum Gratiani
The Decretum Gratiani or Concordia discordantium canonum is a collection of Canon law compiled and written in the 12th century as a legal textbook by the jurist known as Gratian. It forms the first part of the collection of six legal texts, which together became known as the Corpus Juris Canonici...

, was an attempt, using early scholastic
Scholasticism
Scholasticism is a method of critical thought which dominated teaching by the academics of medieval universities in Europe from about 1100–1500, and a program of employing that method in articulating and defending orthodoxy in an increasingly pluralistic context...

 method, to solve seemingly contradictory canons from previous centuries. Gratian quoted a great number of authorities, including the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

, papal and conciliar legislation, church fathers such as Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

, and secular law in his efforts to reconcile the canons. The vulgate version of Gratian's collection was completed at some point after the Second Lateran Council, which it quotes. Research by Anders Winroth
Anders Winroth
Anders Winroth is a history professor at Yale University.After graduation from Stockholm University, Winroth did his master's and doctoral studies at Columbia University under Robert Somerville. He worked on the Decretum of Gratian. He discovered that the original version was only about half the...

 established that some manuscripts of an early version of Gratian's text, which differs considerably from the mainstream textual tradition, have survived.

With later commentaries and supplements, the work was incorporated into the Corpus Juris Canonici. The Decretum
Decretum
Decretum may refer to:*The Decretum Gratiani is a collection of Canon law compiled in the twelfth century by a jurist named Gratian.*Decretum Gelasianum, traditionally attributed to Pope Gelasius I, contains a list of works adjudged apocryphal....

quickly became the standard text book for students of canon law throughout Europe, but it never received any formal official recognition by the papacy. Only the Codex Iuris Canonici of 1917 put it out of use.

Gratian was acclaimed as "The Father of Science of Canon law" and he later found a place in Dante
DANTE
Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe is a not-for-profit organisation that plans, builds and operates the international networks that interconnect the various national research and education networks in Europe and surrounding regions...

's Paradise among the doctors of the Church.

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