- s. xx / s. xxi
This dissertation has been envisioned as primarily descriptive. Here and there, however, attempts are made to venture beyond mere description of the evidence and explore the broader significance of canon law collections to Anglo-Saxon legal culture as a whole; however, given the still nascent state of the study of Anglo-Saxon canon law, such explorations are very often speculative and can only be considered preliminary to a more detailed investigation into the social, political and institutional significance of the evidence that is herein presented. This is simply to say that the goals of the present study are more humble than might be hoped. A solid foundation, rather than a consummate edifice of historical analysis, is sought after. Indeed, it bears advertising up front that not only has the definitive treatment of Anglo-Saxon canon law yet to be written; in all likelihood, it will still be many years before it is even prudent to attempt such a thing.The appendices contain a number of transcriptions of canon law collections from Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, including the first ever transcriptions of the Collectio Sanblasiana and Collectio Turonensis, as well as transcriptions of Book 4 of the Collectio quadripartita and of the Collectio Wigorniensis (or ‘Excerptiones pseudo-Ecgberhti’) in four of its five redactions. The appendices also contain a review of the complex historiography surrounding the latter two collections, as well as case studies of three texts that appear to have been crucial to the development of canon law in the Anglo-Saxon church, namely the Libellus responsionum, the Constitutum Silvestri, and Ecgberht of York’s Dialogus. While the appendixed material is intended primarily as support for the broader arguments developed in the dissertation proper, it is also hoped that scholars will find some of that material useful in its own right, and that it will serve to promote further discussion of the importance of canon law collections―especially Continental canon law collections―within the context of Anglo-Saxon history.