The Cloister and Beyond: Regulating the Life of the Canonical Clergy in Francia, from Pippin III to Louis the Pious
thesisposted on 08.06.2016, 09:18 by Stephen Ling
Frankish ecclesiastics exerted great effort in defining and regulating the life of the canonical clergy between the reigns of Pippin III and Louis the Pious. Church councils and assemblies convened by Carolingian kings, such as the Synod of Ver (755) and the Council of Aachen (816), sought to impose order. These councils distinguished between three interrelated groups: the secular clergy, the canonical clergy and monks. Separating the lives of these orders was no easy task, as there was siginificant debate over the definition of each group. In response to these queries and admonitions, bishops regulated the life of the clergy in their diocese. Notably, Chrodegang of Metz (d. 766) produced the first extant rule for canons. This text has attracted much historiographical attention and is often seen as providing the basis for the influential Canonical Institute produced at the Council of Aachen (816). This thesis examines the interplay between central attempts to establish the norms of the life of canons and local response to such efforts. Focusing on the latter demonstrates the variety of appraoches taken towards the regulation of the clergy in this period and concludes that the significance and impact of Chrodegang’s Rule has been overstated. The thesis is divided into three parts. Part I investigates how the canonical clergy were defined as a group. Part II examines the different local texts and traditions used to to regulate the clergy between c. 750 and 813. Finally, part III provides a detailed textual analysis of the Canonical Institute (816), highlighting that this prominent text drew widely on a variety of different traditions used to regulate the clergy, establishing concordance out of diversity.