Roman Canon Law in Reformation England
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Paperback / softback
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Number of Pages: 236
Width: 14.1 cm
Height: 21.2 cm
In this book one of the world's foremost legal historians draws upon the evidence of the canon law, court records and the English common-law system to demonstrate the extent to which, contrary to received wisdom, Roman canon law survived in England after the upheavals of the Protestant Reformation. R. H. Helmholz provides an extensive examination of the manuscript records of the ecclesiastical courts and professional literature of the English civilians. Rebutting the views of Maitland and others, he shows how English looked to the Continent for guidance and authority in administering the system of justice they had inherited from the Middle Ages. Intellectual links between England and the Continent are shown to have survived the Reformation and the abolition of papal jurisdiction. The extent to which papal material was still used in England during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries will interest all readers and surprise many.
"Richard Helmholz is one scholar who is both aware of those riches and skilled in exploiting them, while nimbly avoiding the mines and traps that menace the unwary. Helmholz's earlier book, Marriage Litigation in Medieval England (Cambridge, 1974), has become a classic, and this latest one seems likely to do the same. Roman Canon Law in Reformation England explores a fascinating body of legal literature that has remained largely unread, indeed nearly unknown, for many generations." Journal of British Studies "Richard Helmholz...one of the world's foremost legal historians...provides a detailed and wide-ranging examination of the manuscript records of the ecclesiastical courts and the professional writings of the English civilians...a lucid and elegantly written book...amusing and entertaining as well." Warfare in Antiquity "This is a valuable examination of canon law usage in Reformation England." History "Professor Richard Helmholz is a leading member of a distinguished company of North American scholars who have made an especially noteworthy contribution to the study of English canon law. His latest book traces the changing fortunes of that law under the Tudors and early Stuarts...The distinctive strength of Helmholz' achievement lies in his confident ability to set the events of that epoch in a long perspective and his exceptionally wide knowledge of relevant sources of law. With an expert eye for essential developments, he has summed up the results of complex changes in a remarkably small compass. His exposition is a model of elegant lucidity and conciseness. Eminently readable, it will give pleasure to those familiar with any aspect of his subject, while serving as an admirable introduction for those new to it." R. A. Houlbrooke, The Sixteenth Century Journal "One comes away from this book with a renewed respect for the civilians' learning, their resourcefulness, and their determination to defend their jurisdiction against the encroachments of common lawyers. It contributes to a welcome reappraisal of English ecclesiastical jurisdiction before its collapse in 1641." Brian P. Levack, Journal of Church and State "Helmholz conducts his analysis with clarity and grace; his specific conclusions are judicious, carefully formulated, and compelling. Despite the sometimes abstruse nature of its subject matter, this book reads easily and well. This reviewer suspects that it will become indidpensable for historians of canon and English common law." Robert C. Figueira, Speculum "...Helmholz can address with authority topics that other works have addressed only tentatively or not at all." Robert E. Rodes, Jr., Canadian Journal of History "...the overall themes of the book are clear and strikingly new...What enables Helholz to make theses assertions with confidence is that he has done what no one has done before. He has searched the local archives for ecclesiastical court material from this period. The material is extensive, and he has read it...a masterful survey that will serve us for years to come." Charles Donahue, Jr., Harvard Law School