Regino of Prüm. Two Books on Synodal Causes and Ecclesiastical Disciplines

Translated by
Giulio Silano

Mediaeval Sources in Translation 60; Saint Michael’s College Mediaeval Translations. 2021. viii, 366 pp. ISBN 978-0-88844-310-6 • Paper • $35.00

Regino of Prüm (ca. 840–915), after being deposed as abbot of Prüm, became a notable musical theorist, historical chronicler, and student of the canons. His Two Books on Synodal Causes and Ecclesiastical Disciplines have generally been seen as practical handbooks to be used in the decision of synodal cases. Although they may have been used in the course of episcopal visitations, they are not to be read as limited to such use.

They are to be regarded primarily as a pedagogical tool, intended to remedy an ignorance of the canonical tradition by the clerics in his part of the world. They are intended to be of use to all who have some position of responsibility within the Church and, ultimately, to every member of the Church. They are meant to help form every Christian, but particularly those clerics who have the responsibility to issue judgments and hear confessions in the Church, and to develop in them a disciplined discernment and a habit of addressing issues as they arise in personal and community life in the light of Scripture and of the long experience of the Church. They are brilliantly arranged around the device of questionnaires which fosters a case-based and tentative approach to the resolution of problems while avoiding abstraction and striving to mitigate legalism. The work was influential in its own region, but obtained much greater resonance through its eventual absorption into the Decretum of Burchard of Worms, thus affecting the whole Western canonical tradition.


An excerpt from the introduction

An excerpt from the translation


Giulio Silano teaches in the Mediaeval Studies and the Christianity & Culture programs at the University of St Michael’s College and is Professor of History and of Medieval Studies in the University of Toronto. A specialist in the ecclesiastical, institutional and legal history of medieval Europe, he is the author of Acts of Gubertinus de Novate, Notary of the Patriarch of Aquileia, 1328–1336 (1990), the translator of the four books of the Sentences of Peter Lombard (2007–2010), and co-editor of From Learning to Love: Schools, Law, and Pastoral Care in the Middle Ages (2017), among other works.


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