219. Law and Order: Gratian and Peter Lombard

Posted on 12 April 2015

Gratian and Peter Lombard help bring scholasticism to maturity by systematizing law and theology.


Further Reading

• Gratian, The Treatise on Laws, trans. A. Thompson (Washington DC: 1993).

• Peter Lombard, The Sentences, trans. G. Silano, 4 vols (Toronto: 2007-10).


• M.L. Colish, Peter Lombard, 2 vols (Leiden: 1994).

• W. Hartmann and K. Pennington (eds), The History of Medieval Canon Law in the Classical Period, 1140-1234 (Washington DC: 2008).

• C. Monagle, Orthodoxy and Controversy in Twelfth-Century Religious Discourse: Peter Lombard’s Sentences and the Development of Theology (Turnhout: 2013).

• J. Porter, “Custom, Ordinance and Natural Right in Gratian’s Decretum,” in A. Perreau-Saussine and J.B. Murphy (eds), The Nature of Customary Law (Cambridge: 2007), 79-100.

• P.W. Rosemann, Peter Lombard (New York: 2004).

• P.W. Rosemann, The Story of a Great Medieval Book: Peter Lombard’s Sentences (Ontario: 2007).

• A. Winroth, The Making of Gratian’s Decretum (Cambridge: 2000).

Online collection of translations of parts of Gratian's Decretum


Mick Fesantplucker 5 December 2018

As I understand it, Lombard doesn't quote Aristotle in the Sentences, but he does frequently talk about efficient and final causes. Where did he derive his notion of causality? From Boethius? 

Peter Adamson 5 December 2018

In reply to by Mick Fesantplucker

Off the top of my head I don't know what we know about Lombard's direct acquaintance with Aristotle - even if he doesn't quote him by name I would have thought he must have been aware of at least parts of the logical corpus? But I would say that no one source would be needed for knowledge of something as basic as the concepts of efficient and final causes. This would be like asking where a 21st century intellectual found out about "I think therefore I am." It would just have been common knowledge.

By the way I am struck by your online name: is this a reference to the dangerous tongue twister that begins "I'm the mother pheasant plucker..."? I had friends in college who found it very entertaining and used to recite it often.

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