Corpus Synodalium

What did medieval canon law look like from the perspective of local communities?

Corpus Synodalium is a new online resource that allows users to search and analyze the extant episcopal statutes from late medieval Latin Christendom. Offering direct access to more than 1400 texts (many transcribed directly from manuscripts or rare early printings), and powered by the Philologic4 platform, the project website features a variety of simple text analysis tools (including fuzzy and faceted searches, collocation, and time series). In addition, thanks to multi-year support from CESTA, users seeking to examine spatial patterns within the text corpus can export search results to the first-ever digital atlas of medieval European dioceses and ecclesiastical provinces.

Where previous scholarship on local ecclesiastical legislation has necessarily operated within narrow geographical and chronological bounds, this full-text database enables large-scale comparative analysis of this rich historical genre. Scholars interested in medieval law and church history can explore systematically the limits of normative centralization, the survival of local specificities, and the willingness of local authorities to embrace, resist, imitate, or innovate in the face of papal directives. Moreover, given the breadth of topics encompassed within this corpus – from marriage to moneylending – the full-text corpus will hopefully become a point of reference for anyone pursuing research on the social and religious history of late medieval Europe.

For a partial list of publications that have drawn on the project to date, see here.

Visit the project website

Core People

Rowan Dorin