15.06.46, Bivolarov, Inquisitoren-Handbücher

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Edward Peters

The Medieval Review 15.06.46

Bivolarov, Vasil. Inquisitoren-Handbücher: Papsturkunden und juristische Gutachten aus dem 13. Jahrhundert mit Edition des Consilium von Guido Fulcodii. Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Studien und Texte, 56. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2014. pp. xxxiii, 327. ISBN: 9783447100403 (hardback).

Reviewed by:
Edward Peters
University of Pennsylvania (emeritus)

With this excellent scholarly study, Bivolarov makes a major contribution to a topic presently at the center of much inquisition research: the nature of inquisitorial texts in general (including registers and other administrative records) and of manuals for inquisitors in particular, both those that are theologically oriented and those that are largely procedural. [1] Because Bivolarov's design of the book is also highly original, it is useful to begin this review with a description of its structure.

Following a twenty-two page bibliography of sources and literature and the author's lucid introduction (I), sections II, III, and IV deal respectively with a listing and description of the forty manuscripts the author has used (the ones of which he has only seen copies are marked *), the relationships among them, and a statement of rigorous and helpful editorial principles. Section V is an index of papal letters from Gregory IX to Nicholas IV (1230-92, that is, before the relevant canons in the Liber Sextus of 1298) dealing with matters of inquisitorial activities and a register of those letters, some edited here in full for the first time. Each entry includes manuscript locations, earlier editions, and locations in other registers. A good example of a full edition is the letter Misericors et miserator Dominus of Innocent IV, from Perugia, issued to two inquisitors in November, 1251 (37-41). Each entry is scrupulously annotated, here and in the bibliography noting scholarship mostly through 2011. Section VI is a repertorium of forty-three juristic consilia issued between 1235 and 1298, including the one edited here and a later, shorter one issued by Guido while he was archbishop of Narbonne (Nr. 12). Section VII is the edited version of Guy Fulques's consilium in eight parts: an updated biography of the author (for the great variety of forms of the author's first and last names, 206, n.1), the title and date of the work, its (substantial) influence on later tractates, a history of previous editions, the manuscript tradition and the six versions of the work that survive in it (220-23), the manuscript basis for the present edition (seven mss., 224), and the edition itself, which meets the highest standards of the MGH as well as those of Bivolarov's teacher, Peter Herde of Würzburg. The final Section VIII is a detailed and informative study of the organization and procedures of the papal inquisitors in the thirteenth century based largely on Guido's consilium. Bivolarov's conclusion points out some extremely important lines of future research in texts like this. The book concludes with an index of personal and place-names.

Sometimes, much as it may irritate or bore them, historians have to pay some attention to names and dates, the whole unruly framework of historical evidence. Guy Fulques was born and raised in Saint-Gilles-du-Gard in Languedoc (on the biography, 206-213). His father Petrus was a legal adviser to the count of Toulouse, and Guy studied law at the University of Paris. Guy is thought to have been born between 1190 and 1200, although the earlier date would seem preferable, since his expertise in Roman law was probably acquired there before Honorius III issued the decretal Super speculam in 1219, shutting down the teaching of Roman law at Paris. Although there is little detailed evidence of his life and work over the next three decades, it is known that he married and that he and his wife had several sons and daughters. He also served as a judge, legal adviser, arbitrator, and designer of statutes (1233, 1246, and 1257) for the abbot of Saint-Gilles and for many other ecclesiastical and lay clients. That is, he acquired a very broad range of legal experience, in both canon and Roman law as well as local laws in the county of Toulouse. By the 1230s he probably was more broadly educated and experienced in the varieties of law in thirteenth-century Languedoc than anyone else. Important as these years becoming a iurisperitus were, Bivolarov admits that dennoch bleibt die Zeit zwischen 1235 und 1249 im Grossen und Ganzen im Dunkeln (210). Guy is first referred to as a clericus in 1253, but the term was sufficiently broad that it did not necessarily mean that he was ordained, although he probably was. He certainly was ordained as a secular priest just before or after that date, which implies either that his wife had died or that they both had decided to enter the religious life, as did at least one of their daughters. In 1249 he was an adviser to the new count of Toulouse, Alphonse of Poitiers. In 1254 and 1255, referred to as a clericus, he served as legal adviser to Louis IX. His rise in the ecclesiastical hierarchy was rapid. In 1256 he was archdeacon of Le Puy and was elected its bishop in 1257. During these years he was also involved in inquisitorial affairs in the dioceses of Toulouse, Agen, Albi, Carpentras, and Quercy. In the same year he is listed as a judge in the Parlement of Paris. He was elected archbishop of Narbonne in 1259, appointed cardinal of Santa Sabina in 1261, in the same year succeeding Hugh of St. Cher as Grand Penitentiary. He was elected pope in 1265, residing mostly in Perugia and then Viterbo, where he died in 1268.

The years before his clerical career began are also important because Bivolarov very convincingly dates Guy's consilium based on internal evidence much earlier than previous scholars, including Dondaine, to the years between 1238 and 1243, locating it among the very earliest of such texts and clearly one of the most influential of them (217-9), even, according to the later jurist Zanchino Ugolini, worthy of being plagiarized by Guido de Baysio (218 n.67, 312), recognized as such first in France, then in Italy, and consistently used in later collections of inquisitorial material in such manuscripts as Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, MS Vat. Lat. 3978 (Bivolarov's V7 later used by Eymeric and Peña) through the later work of Bernard Gui, Nicolau Eymerich and Francisco Peña. It was first printed by Cesare Carena in 1636 and reprinted in subsequent editions (219-20).

Guy's consilium was written at the request of Provençal Dominican inquisitors of heretical depravity. Such inquisitors were made, not born. In theory they were obliged to follow the ordo iudiciarius, the rule of law, in their essentially theological enterprise. And they thus posed original and vexing questions to established authorities and legal systems. They did not spring fully formed from the mind of Gregory IX in 1231. And their focus was on doctrinal content and penance, hitherto not particularly a juridical problem. But who was to teach them the techniques of what amounted to a professional discipline that had to accommodate a substantial doctrinal component in the busy years after the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215, the Albigensian crusade, the series of important regional church councils from those at Narbonne in 1227 and Toulouse in 1229 to those at Tarragona in 1242 and Albi in 1254, and the appearance of the Liber Extra in 1234 - itself the product of a master canonist, Raymond of Peñafort, O.P., a work often cited by Guy.

Guy's consilium consists of a prologue and fifteen questions, all of a juridical character. For Guy, as for the masters Gratian, the heretic was a heretic, a category of criminal status whose different theological varieties had no legal significance but whose criminal character and its social, economic, and political consequences, as well as the constitution and powers of inquisitorial tribunals, certainly did. Inquisitorial tribunals had to be defined in relation to existing episcopal and lay tribunals, since they acted with papal authority, just as Roman proconsuls held power over all under the princeps (Q. I). Guy's use of Roman law is professional and astute. Original inquisitorial procedures, notably the period of grace (Q. II) had to be precisely defined. Nor were they cheap, and their finances, like those of crusaders, caused much inquiry and criticism in the thirteenth century (Q. III). [2] Their activities touched heavily on property law and the laws of inheritance (Q VII, XV). The crime of heresy also created satellite statuses that had to be assessed precisely: what were fautores (Q. 10), receptatores (Q 11), defensores (Q 12), and the most troublesome of all, credentes (Q 9). On several of these topics Guy allows that others have said different things about them but that he is giving his own opinion, and his opinion is consistently that of a highly qualified jurist, frequently urging caution and careful reflection rather than abrupt and ill-considered action.

Bivolarov's account of the of the organization and practices of tribunals of inquisitors of heretical depravity is a very helpful analysis, from the places where trials may be held, through inquisitorial qualifications, length of service (rarely a clerical career, since many inquisitors later held other positions, including those of bishop and papal legate), finances, the use of torture, and punishment. And these features can now be placed in a clearer historical and legal context by being given in terms of Guy's well-annotated consilium.

This book is a major contribution, not only to inquisitorial history, but also to European legal history. And it marks the debut of a major scholar in these fields.



1. Excellent recent examples, which appeared too late for Bivolarov to cite, are Lucy J. Sackville, Heresy and Heretics in the Thirteenth Century: The Textual Representations (Woodbridge, UK-Rochester, NY, 2011), for the subject of the present volume, 116-121, the best modern account in English; Sackville, "The Inquisitor's Manual at Work," Viator 44/1 (2013), 201-216, and the doctoral dissertation at Fordham University by Geoffrey Ward Clement, A Franciscan Inquisitor's Manual and its Compositional Context: Codex Casanatensis 1730 (January 1, 2013). ETD Collection for Fordham University Paper AA13564858. http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AA13564858. The York Medieval Press has played a major role in this area for several years, notably in the volume Texts and the Repression of Medieval Heresy, Eds. Caterina Bruschi and Peter Biller, York Studies in Medieval Theology IV (Woodbridge, UK-Rochester, NY, 2003, a volume cited by Bivolarov. The term manual is not as restrictive in current research as it was in the work of Antoine Dondaine, and the text edited in this volume, with others, is termed more accurately a consilium, (1. n. 4).

2. Most recently on the staffing of tribunals, Caterina Bruschi, "Familia Inquisitionis: a study on the inquisitors' entourage (XIII-XIV centuries," Mélanges de l'École française de Rome - Moyen Âge [En ligne] 125-2 | 2013, mise en ligne le 26 novembre, 2013, accessed 4 May 2015. URL: http://mefrm.revues.org/1519.

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