Offences against Marriage in the 12th–14th Centuries
Evidence from Orthodox Bulgaria and Catholic Europe
Thursday, May 31, 2018, at 16.30
In this lecture, Nadezhda Hristova discusses the attitude towards offences against marriage in the legal tradition of the Orthodox and the Catholic Church. Hristova presents results of her research based on a comparative analysis of normative and academic texts in medieval church law composed or used in the Orthodox Bulgarian Kingdom and in Catholic Western Europe in the 12th–14th centuries. Hristova examines sources such as the so-called Slavonic Ecloga (a translation into Old Bulgarian of the Byzantine Ecloga—the most important Byzantine legal work after the Code of Justinian, issued in 726 by Emperor Leo III the Isaurian; the Law of Judging People—the first original Old Bulgarian code of written laws composed at the end of the 9th century on the basis of title XVII of the Byzantine Ecloga; the Alphabetical Syntagma of 1335 composed by the Byzantine monk Matthew Blastares and enforced in Bulgaria since the middle of the 14th century; Concordia discordantium canonum (Decretum Gratiani), the first work presenting the Western canon law in a systematic order, composed in the 12th century by the canon lawyer from Bologna Gratian; the works of some of the commentators of the Decretum Gratiani known as dekretists, like Rufinus († c. 1191), Joannes Faventinus († c. 1190) and Rolandus from the Bologna school, and Stephanus Tornacensis († 1203) from the Paris school; the collection of papal letters—Decretales Gregorii IX or Liber Extra, composed in 1234 by the Catalan canonist Raymond of Penyafort.
In her lecture, Hristova expounds on problems such as the church’s vision of bigamy, to what extent medieval clergy made difference between fornication and adultery, what kind of church punishments were provided for such offences against marriage and whether their severity depended on the sex of the sinner, and what had to be the relations between a husband and a wife in case of committed adultery. The actual enforcement of the norms of canon law concerning offences against marriage will not be discussed in the lecture.
Nadezhda Hristova, PhD, is an Associate Professor in medieval history and a scientific secretary of “St. Cyril and St. Methodius” University of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria. Her research and publications focus on problems like the status of women in medieval Europe, the matrimonial institution and marriage relations among Orthodox and Catholic Christians, medieval common law. Nadezhda Hristova has specialized in women’s studies at the University of Oslo and the University of Cambridge.
The talk will be delivered in English. All are welcome to attend.