Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Patzold and the Origins of the C Recension: III

The third installment in a series of observations about Patzold's new book. The beginning is here.

A great part of Patzold’s case for the ninth-cenury date of the C recension rests upon the canonical citations of Hincmar of Reims. Among other things, he raises the possibility that Hincmar drew on some collection like C for his Opusculum LV capitulorum, or his treatise in 55 chapters (55C). In this work from 870, Hincmar refuted the legal arguments of his nephew and namesake, the bishop of Laon:
In the conflict with his nephew, Hincmar adduced in his 55-chapter treatise...a passage from a forged letter in the name of Pelagius II (JK +1051)—from a text, therefore, which is contained not in the A2-Version, but only in one of the long versions of the [False Decretals] (including the C-class). In the same work...Hincmar referred pointedly again to the Breviarium of Liberatus of Carthage.
On the same occasion, moreover, Hincmar cited four letters of Pope Leo I, which he could have taken neither from the Quesnelliana nor from the Hispana (JK 475, 482, 495 and 496). Only one of these four letters (JK 496) can be read in the Leo Dossier of the A1 recension; all four, however, occur in codices of the C class. Still more: Precisely in the argumentative context where Hincmar borrows from the Breviarium of Liberatus of Carthage, he also cites two of these exclusive Leo letters (JK 495, 482), which, in Pseudo-Isidorian context, are transmitted only in the C class. (49-50)
Put another way, Hincmar cites diverse items in 55C that the C recension alone gathers together in one single book, these texts being the Breviarium of Liberatus and a Pseudo-Pelagius forgery, or various rare Leonine decretals and the Breviarium. To weigh the strength of this argument, we must remember that the 55C is a dense legal treatise that gathers hundreds upon hundreds of canonical citations, no few of them rare or unusual in some way. It is a monument to Hincmar’s deep learning. The C recension is, likewise, an enormous compendium of canon law, surely one of the longest and most comprehensive collections of the early medieval period. Additionally, C has close ties to the Reims province, discernible in its antecedents (A/B, likely from Corbie) and in its sources (the Collectio Sangermanensis). Hincmar himself was the metropolitan of Reims province. This means we should approach any overlap in content with caution. Hincmar and C were both comprehensive and they both breathed the same air. If they have the same stuff here and there we would do well to avoid leaping, straightaway, to any theory that posits C as Hincmar’s source.

Despite these words of caution I find myself intrigued by chapter 23 of the Opusculum LV capitolorum, where indeed Hincmar cites the Breviarium and then some rarae aves from Leo’s epistolary corpus. If we want to imagine that Hincmar got these citations from one book, that book begins to look an awful lot like C. But before we get carried away, we should pause and ask why this argument is framed so narrowly.

Was it only in composing the 55C that Hincmar might have turned to C for help?

Where did Hincmar ordinarily go shopping for his Leo letters?

How well did Hincmar know Leo anyway?

On all of these matters, Jean Devisse has helpful remarks.[1] To begin with, Devisse is able to document Hincmar’s longstanding and lively interest in Leo’s correspondence. Everything suggests that Hincmar was on the lookout for Leonine extravagantes throughout his career, and that his knowledge of Leo’s epistolary leavings grew over time. Hincmar, Devisse argues, cited Leo’s letters from multiple sources, including the Dionysio-Hadriana, the Quesnelliana, and the Hispana. For the odd piece he used the Dacheriana and also rarer collections, namely the Collectio Colbertina (which perhaps survives solely in Hincmar’s personal manuscript, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, Ms. lat. 1455?) and the Collectio Arletanensis (which survives only indirectly).

Hincmar cites a great number of Leo letters that end up in Pseudo-Isidore, but in most cases Hincmar seems to take his borrowings from Pseudo-Isidore’s sources, rather than Pseudo-Isidore himself. In only one case is Devisse fairly certain that Hincmar’s Leo citation comes from a False Decretals manuscript (the decretal in question is present both in A1 and in C). In later years, however, and especially from 870, Devisse sees an increasing textual influence from the False Decretals upon some of Hincmar’s Leonine borrowings.

All of that is according to Devisse, whose analysis is at times less than tight and in many cases wanting in citations. This, however, is a point of absolute certainty:

The problem of Leonine citations in Hincmar that cannot be traced to sources beyond C is larger than the four citations in the 55C, and I do not fully understand why Patzold has framed this problem in such narrow terms. Across his entire oeuvre, Hincmar cites nine Leonine decretals that are also on hand in C, but that otherwise are very rare, occurring only in unlikely places like the Collectio Grimanica. 

Where Hincmar got these nine letters is a deep problem. It is so deep that any theory of a ninth-century C recension seems inadequate to answer it. Consider this list of each decretal and the earliest attestation in Hincmar, insofar as I know it:

1. JK 431 (n. 37), cited only in Hincmar’s De fide Carolo regi servanda from 875.

2. JK 432 (n. 38), cited only in the De praedestinatione from 859/60.

3. JK 464 (n. 84), cited only in De una et non trina deitate, 856/7.

4. JK 475 (n. 95), first cited in De praedestinatione, 859/60 (and later in 55C).

5. JK 482 (n. 105), first cited in a letter of Hincmar from 863 (and later in 55C).

6. JK 487 (n. 111), cited only in De praedestinatione, 859/60.

7. JK 495 (n. 119), first cited in De una et non trina deitate, 856/7 (and later in 55C).

8. JK 496 (n. 120), cited in OpusculumLV capitulorum (the 55C) in 870.

9. JK 532 (n. 156), first cited in De una et non trina deitate, 856/7.

Res ipsa loquitur: A great many of these rare Leo letters, available in C but in no other widely circulated formal source, entered Hincmar’s world in the course of his quarrels with Gottschalk. A third had already arrived in 856 or 857, if we are to believe Devisse’s arguments on the date of De una et non trina deitate.[2] Such an early date makes it hard to see how C can have been Hincmar’s source for many of these citations. At the beginning of this essay series we discussed a distant antecedent of C, namely the collection of Leo’s correspondence in New Haven, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Ms 442. The Leo collection in this manuscript is associated with a papal list that concludes with the pontificate of Nicholas I. All of which is to say that C has a terminus post quem and, and it sits sometime after 858.

When Hincmar wrote his 55C in 870, I suppose that he could have drawn the Breviarium and some of his rare Leo citations from C. Anything is possible. But we have to admit that he did not know all of these letters only from C, for he had cited one of them (JK 495) before C ever took shape, during his attempt to do away with the trina deitas in 856 or 857. And he had demonstrated knowledge of a second (JK 475) in the course of composing an extended statement on predestination in 859/60. Though theoretically possible, this still strikes me as an uncomfortably early date for C, given that several stages of redaction and expansion had to intervene between the Leonine collection in the Beinecke manuscript and the Leonine collection in C.

As I come to the end of this post, I cannot help wondering if we have not grasped this question the wrong way around. Hincmar had a deep and unusual knowledge of Leo’s epistolary corpus, one that according to Devisse was by and large independent of the False Decretals. This knowledge extended to some of the letters that eventually, after Hincmar demonstrated knowledge of them, found their way into the C recension. Among those responsible the C recension was, likewise, somebody with a fairly deep and prevailing knowledge of Leo’s correspondence, if the 102-item Leonine dossier in C is any indication. If Hincmar's citations do not proceed from C, perhaps some of the material in C proceeds from Hincmar?

That will be a question for next time.

[1] Devisse, Hincmar: Archevêque de Reims, 845-882 (Geneva, 1975-6). At 3 vols., not for the faint of heart. 

[2] See Devisse, Hincmar, 1:163-6. His argument is widely accepted in modern scholarship as far as I know.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Patzold and the Origins of the C Recension: II

A multi-part ode upon aspects of a recent book and the C recension of the False Decretals. First post here.

C receives material from the Collectio Sangermanensis. That means something. Unfortunately, the Sangermanensis is also very hard. The best extant manuscript, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Ms. lat. 12098 (hereafter, P), indeed hails from Corbie. It was copied in the third quarter of the ninth century and its margins have received various annotations. Patzold wonders whether these annotations are evidence that the Pseudo-Isidorians or the compilers of C took an interest in the volume. Yet P coexists with Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Ms. 397 (hereafter, W). And a third copy was once known at Beauvais but has since been lost. Finally, Hincmar of Reims demonstrates knowledge of some of the items assembled in the Sangermanensis

For Patzold, this suggests that Hincmar had access to a version of the False Decretals very much like C. That is a possibility, but at this stage the blunter and simpler approach is simply to acknowledge that we have four distinct witnesses to the Sangermanensis from the ninth century: three of them direct (P, W and the lost Beauvais codex) and one indirect (Hincmar). Of these four, three hail from the archiepiscopal province of Reims (P, Beauvais, Hincmar). To argue that the Sangermanensis points to Corbie is therefore not wrong so much as it might be overly precise—a neglect of the forest for the trees. The synoptic view must be that the Sangermanensis has ties to Reims generally. The Reims province, of course, is not only Pseudo-Isidore’s stomping grounds, but the epicenter of his ecclesiastical concerns and the environment in which the False Decretals first circulated and where they were the most used.

Readers at Corbie have annotated the folios of P. You can study the annotations yourself. So far I have found nothing obviously Pseudo-Isidorian about these annotations. That is to say, P does not have the distinctive Pseudo-Isidorian marginal cipher that Klaus Zechiel-Eckes discovered in the source codices directly exploited by the forgers. Furthermore, I cannot spot any direct relationship between marginal annotations in P and material appropriated by the C recension. I am open to being corrected on this point, but until I am, I must write that I see no evidence that ties Sangermanensis material in the C recension to P specifically. Patzold’s argument on this front resembles somewhat his assertions surrounding the Bobbiensis and the Grimanica: It is possible to lean upon the evidence such that a Corbie connection becomes arguable, but that connection does not emerge unforced from the sources.

The Collectio Sangermanensis can be divided into four parts:

1. A substantial fragment of the Codex Encyclius. The Codex Encyclius, issued by Emperor Leo I in 458, consists of letters from the pope and metropolitans from across the empire on the orthodoxy of the Council of Chalcedon and the case of Timothy Aelurus, patriarch of Alexandria. Timothy’s predecessor, Proterius, had been driven from his see and killed by anti-Chalcedonians, who then installed Timothy as an ideologically acceptable replacement. The Codex Encyclius is a resounding statement against Timothy and in favor of Chalcedon. It was translated into Latin under the aegis of Cassiodorus at Vivarium. 

2. The Breviarium of Liberatus of Carthage, essentially a polemical history in defense of the Three Chapters that opens with the consecration of Nestorius as patriarch of Constantinople in 428, and that concludes with the Second Council of Constantinpole in 553. The Breviarium draws heavily on the Historia Tripartita of Cassiodorus/Epiphanius.

3. Five items that seem out of step with the rest of the Sangermanensis. These include 
i) Prosper of Aquitaine’s Contra collatorem, a treatise on the necessity of grace written in refutation of John Cassian’s Conlatio XIII;
ii) a letter of Aurelius of Carthage on the condemnation of Pelagius (Clavis Patrum Latinorum no. 395);
iii) excerpts from Augustine, Ep. 186, also relating to Pelagianism; 
iv) Pope Gelasius I to Euphemius of Constantinople, Quod plena cupimus, JK 620, in which Gelasius rebuffs the attempts of Euphemius to restore communion during the Acacian schism in 492; 
v) Damasus to Paulinus of Antioch, Per filium meum, JK 235, in the usual form with anathemas appended from the Roman council of 380. 
There are two reasons to suspect these pieces might not belong: The dominant concern of the second half of the Sangermanensis, from the Breviarium in Part 2 through the letters in Part 4 below, is a defense of the Three Chapters. The items in Part 3 address other matters, particularly, in i-iii, Pelagiansim. Moreover, some of them seem to hail from the Collectio Quesnelliana or a related collection (ii, iii, v). The rest of the Sangermanensis manifests no Quesnelliana connection.

4. A concluding sequence of letters and other brief items purporting to bear, like the Breviarium of Liberatus, on the Three Chapters.

Eduard Schwartz, editor of the Sangermanensis, argued that Part 3 did not belong and he excluded it as a later accretion from his edition. This third part is nevertheless present in both extant witnesses to the Sangermanensis, P and W. We cannot know for certain whether it stood in the lost codex from Beauvais. What textual evidence there is, however, suggests that the lost Beauvais witness aligns textually with P as against W, so it would not be surprising to find that this lost manuscript did attest to all four parts. For what it's worth, Hincmar, our indirect witness, cites Propser's Contra collatorem (from Part 3?) and he also knows the Breviarium in Part 2.

Did the architects of C also have access to a four-part Sangermanensis like that described above? Well, maybe. They appropriate both the Breviarium in Part 2 and the concluding letters in Part 4, along with the entirety of Prosper’s Contra collatorem., this later very probably from Part 3. They also include Gelasius to Euphemius, JK 620, another constituent of Part 3, though there is some question about their source for this letter.[1] Patzold concludes that "Whoever was responsible for the C-class must have had, as a basis for his work, a codex like that which we can still grasp in the two aforementioned manuscripts" W and P (37). 

For Patzold, it seems especially probative that the architects of C knew not only the hard and fast constituents of the Sangermanensis, but also the accretions in Part 3. Yet this is precisely where it gets hard. The majority of Sangermanensis content in C is appended to the Leonine dossier that we discussed last time. We get 102 letters of Leo the Great, followed by the Breviarium of Liberatus (Part 2 above), followed by the greater part of the concluding letters (Part 4 above). It is only later on, disconnected from Leo and from these appropriations, that we find possible traces of Part 3: Prosper’s Contra collatorem comes after the decretals of Silverius in C; and JK 620, Gelasius to Epiphanius, stands among the Gelasian decretals in C. Schwartz, who took into account the Pseudo-Isidorian tradition when editing the Sangermanensis, did not think that the items in Part 3 belonged and he preferred to read them as a later accretion; and he was confirmed in this by the Pseudo-Isidorian tradition on hand in C, which appears to leap directly from the Breviarium in Part 2 to the concluding letters in Part 4. Schwartz either did not notice or he did not care that the architects of C might well have known some of these supposed accretions, though they inserted them elsewhere.

It could surely be a coincidence that C is arranged in such a way as to provide Schwartz with a text-critical argument to exclude Part 3, which he wished to read as extraneous to the Sangermanensis for separate, internal reasons. Keep in mind, however, that my four-part division of the Sangermanensis is artificial and calibrated to the purposes of this discussion. In manuscript this collection presents itself as an undifferentiated sequence, beginning with the Codex Encyclius, continuing with the Breviarium, followed immediately by Prosper, then Aurelius, then the anti-Pelagian statement from Augustine, then Gelasius, then Damasus, and then—again without any differentiation—the final fund of letters that return the focus to the Three Chapters. How likely is it that the architects of C could have neatly excluded, from their appendix to the Leo letters, all the material that strikes Schwartz, and perhaps us as well, as a later addition? How likely is it that their knife should have excised those letters associated, at a formal level, with the Quesnelliana? If I have learned anything from Gratianus, it is that I should pay attention whenever a formal source leaves the building. Even an abiding interest in the Three Chapters could not account for C's leap from Part 2 to Part 4, for the connection of various items in Part 4 to the Three Chapters is less than obvious, requiring some explanation on Schwartz’s part.[2] 

For all of these reasons, I would find it far from crazy to argue that the C recension draws on a different tradition than P, the Corbie copy of the Sangermanensis—one that provided the accretions in Part 3 not between Part 2 and Part 4, but perhaps in some other connection.

In conclusion, and by way of affirming that there is reason to believe that the architects of C knew the subcollection in Part 3 in some form, I provide an overview of how the material in Part 3 of the Sangermanensis is handled by Pseudo-Isidore/C overall:

i) Prosper, Contra collatorem, ends up in C, attached to the decretals of Silverius.

ii) Aurelius of Carthage on the condemnation of Pelagius ends up in the anti-Pelagian appendix to the collection of Leo’s letters that, last time, we called 71L. This is Stage 4 in Chavasse’s progression. This appendix is replaced sometime after Stage 5, so that its material does not occur in the Leonine dossier of the C recension.

iii) Excerpts from Augustine, Ep. 186, likewise flow to the disappearing anti-Pelagian appendix in 71L.

iv) Gelasius, JK 620, ends up in C, attached to the rest of the Gelasius decretals on hand there.

v) Damasus to Paulinus, JK 235, Per filium meum, with its appendix of conciliar anathemas, was available to Pseudo-Isidore from the beginning in the Hispana. C does not take it up anew.[3]

The contents of Sangermanensis/Part 3 are distributed throughout the world of Pseudo-Isidore/C in very complementary fashion. Nothing is wholly neglected; ii) and iii), which seem at first to have been neglected by the architects of C, were in fact taken up in an antecedent collection. And as v) reveals, nothing is ever duplicated.[3] Otherwise, in the world of C, any association between the supposed accretions in Part 3 of the Sangermanensis and material from Part 2 or Part 4 of the collection are very consistently lacking. Whether we are talking about the appendix to 71L, or the decretals of Silverius and Gelasius in C, items from Part 3 never appear with Sangermanensis content from Part 2 or Part 4.

Next, thoughts on Hincmar and the C recension.

[1] Detlev Jasper, "Papal Letters and Decretals Written from the Beginning through the Pontificate of Gregory the Great (to 604)," in Papal Letters in the Early Middle Ages (Washington DC, 2001), 64. The Gelasius dossier in the C recension reproduces exactly the order of the Gelasius dossier in the Collectio Frisingensis (Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 6243, s. VIII): "Whether this sequence has occurred by coincidence or is the result of the textual tradition remains unanswered." Relevant to this puzzle are Patzold's remarks in Gefälschtes Recht, 36-37, note 70.

[2] As a final proof, consider that the ninth-century table of contents in P does not demarcate the contents of Part 3 in any way at all. This account divides the context of the codex into the Codex Encyclius, the Breviarium of Liberatus, and Prosper’s Contra collatorem, and then finally a series of “epistolae sanctorum patrum et exceptiones quaedam satis utillimae.”

[3] This is in contrast to the handling of JK 235 in the A1 recension. As noted above, the letter is divided into two parts, an initial statement to Paulinus followed by the conclusions of a Roman council anathematizing various heresies. The conciliar anathemas also occur in Cassiodorus/Epiphanius, Historia Tripartita, IX.15-16. A1 folds both of these chapters from the Historia Tripartita into its Damasus dossier, and the curious consequence is that the A1 recension (and therefore Hinschius’s edition) provides the conciliar anathemas from 380 twice, once from the Hispana and once from Cassiodorus/Epiphanius. The Tripartita borrowing corresponds to an excerpt mark in Pseudo-Isidore’s codex of the Tripartita (Zechiel-Eckes, "Ein Blick in Pseudoisidors Werkstatt," Francia 28 [2001], 43).

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Patzold and the Origins of the C Recension: I

Steffen Patzold, Gefälschtes Recht aus dem Frühmittelalter: Untersuchungen zur Herstellung und Überlieferung der pseudoisidorischen Dekretalen (Heidelberg, 2015)

Steffen Patzold has written a stimulating monograph on the origins of the C recension of the False Decretals. Francia Recensio asked me to review this book last fall, but the distractions of leave delayed my work. I have been a Bad Scholar. Then, when I began studying Patzold’s volume, I became so intrigued by the problems he raises that the review became still more delayed. Happily it is now on its way out, but I will spare you the suspense: I have always found Patzold to be an excellent historian and I have learned a lot from him. I really like his book, even though I find myself in fairly deep disagreement with its argument.

A primer on the manuscript tradition of the False Decretals and what is up with these recensions: Pseudo-Isidore’s decretal forgeries circulated in several different, well-defined forms, which were first subjected to systematic description and analysis by Paul Hinschius when he edited the Decretales Pseudo-Isidorianae in 1863. For Hinschius only the A1 and the A2 recensions dated from the era of Pseudo-Isidore. Three further recensions, which he christened A/B, B and C, were, according to him, all high medieval developments. Hinschius defined his recensions without the benefits of mature text-critical theory and without any deeper, common-errors based analysis of the Pseudo-Isidorian tradition. This is to say that A1, A2, A/B, B and C are not archetypes in the text-critical sense of the term; instead, they denote only roughly the different forms in which the False Decretals circulated. Modern scholars discovered that Hinschius misdated the key manuscript witness of the A/B recension, which in fact comes to us from the era of the forgeries. According to me anyway, A/B is probably the oldest recension out there. And while the manuscript tradition of C does not antedate the later twelfth century, scholars here and there have suspected that it might be older than its extant codicological witnesses. After reading Patzold’s book, I am convinced that these suspicions were right. Minus a few obviously later accretions, C is an early medieval recension and can no longer be excluded from the study of Pseudo-Isidore’s early reception and circulation.

The antiquity of C is Patzold’s concern only for the first third of his study. He spends the final two-thirds of his book on arguing that the “core of the C recension” can be dated to the ninth century and ascribed to the Pseudo-Isidorian atelier at Corbie. Most of Patzold’s case depends upon many items associated with the collection of Leo’s letters in C, and that is what I want to look at here and in the next few posts. 

C presents 102 pieces of Leo’s correspondence, by far the largest and most complex Leonine dossier associated with Pseudo-Isidore. C appends still more material to the end of the Leo letters, the greater part of it relating to the Council of Chalcedon (451) and the Three Chapters controversy from the sixth century. Patzold is absolutely right to look for clues as to the origins of C in this canonical jungle. Many of the items that C associates with Leo's dossier are rare artifacts that suggest the resources of a highly distinctive and well equipped library. Patzold pushes very hard to place that library at Corbie, but it is far from clear that he is right. At points the relatively simple dimensions of his argument deny his study an appreciation of the complexity and potential meaning of the evidence before him.

So, 102 letters: By way of comparison, the A1 recension favored Hinschius has only 56 or 57 letters, and the interpolated Hispana and the A/B recensions include a mere 39. Patzold shows that nothing about the contents or configuration of the Leonine dossier in C suggests a high medieval date, despite some suggestions to the contrary. He also notes that C incorporates one decretal from the so-called Collectio Corbeiensis (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Ms. lat. 12097), a Corbie source also tapped by Benedictus Levita in the False Capitularies (39-40). Furthermore, the Leo letters assembled in C are derived from two early medieval compendia of Leo’s correspondence, namely the Collectio Bobbiensis (Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, C.238 inf) and the Collectio Grimanica (Paris, Bibliothèque Mazarine, Ms. 1645). According to Eduard Schwartz, the Bobbiensis is excerpted from the Grimanica. True to its name, the Milan manuscript of the Bobbiensis was moreover set down in Bobbio, which Patzold reads as evidence that the Grimanica must also have been at Bobbio. Because Abbot Wala of Corbie served as Bobbio’s abbot between 834 and 836, Patzold sees the Grimanica and the Bobbiensis as clues of Corbie provenance:  
For the production of the C-class, rare antecedents were necessary, which were partly available in Bobbio and partly at Corbie. In the 830s, we see a close personal connection between these two monasteries, which was moreover supported by common Pseudo-Isidorian interests (42).
I am not sure that this is right. 

Patzold suggests that Ambrosiana C.238 inf is not the ur-manuscript of the Bobbiensis, but rather a copy of the lost exemplar. He seems driven to this hypothesis because he is convinced that the Milan codex is very late, perhaps dating to the early tenth century. (Bischoff dates Ambrosiana C.238 inf to s. IX 3/3.) Similar considerations apply to the Grimanica: While the Bobbiensis does indeed appear to derive from something like the notional Grimanica, post-Schwartz research holds that Milan manuscript does not itself descend from the Paris codex. Both rather proceed from a common exemplar, from which the Bobbiensis is perhaps, at a minimum, twice removed.[1] The origins and provenance of this antecedent—that is to say, the origins and provenance of the Grimanica in a more fundamental sense—are unknown. 

The upshot is that neither the Milan codex of the Bobbiensis nor the Paris codex of the Grimanica need have informed C directly. Indeed, Patzold seems to suggest that neither did. I do not see how the Bobbio connection can survive this observation, to say nothing of the Corbie connection that hangs beneath it. The “rare antecedents” necessary for the Leonine dossier in C are therefore without any discernible connection to Pseudo-Isidore's monastery, save for one item borrowed from the Collectio Corbeiensis. Otherwise, the best we can say is that C draws Leo’s correspondence from two rare repositories of unknown origin that, in their extant forms, have only Italian associations. Either before or after C took shape, one of these collections, the Bobbiensis, found its way to Bobbio. Beyond the fact that the sole Paris manuscript hails from northern Italy (specifically, Frioul), we do not know anything about where the Grimanica was known in the ninth century, or where it might have given rise to the Bobbiensis.
Thus far we have only considered formal sources, but there is another way to approach the fund of Leo letters in C. We can consider this dossier as the product of a long process of expansion and redaction that admits of partial reconstruction. The standard study, by Antoine Chavasse, holds that the Leo letters in C reflect at least six distinct developmental stages.[2] While not every aspect of Chavasse’s scheme has been proven beyond all doubt, the broader picture of a dense and multi-layered Leonine compendium cannot be disputed. Here is the story of C as Chavasse tells it, from beginning to end:

1) At the core of the Leo letters in C lies the original dossier of 39 letters that the Pseudo-Isidorians redacted from their most important formal source, the Collectio Hispana Gallica. As emended by the forgers, this 39-letter collection—we will call it 39L—is transmitted by Pseudo-Isidore’s own interpolated recension of the Hispana Gallica (Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica, Vat. lat. 1341, usually called the Hispana GallicaAugustodunensis) and by the A/B recension of the False Decretals.

2) Either the forgers or their close associates expanded 39L with eighteen additional items, all but two or three from the Collectio Quesnelliana. The fifty-seven letter dossier is an important characteristic of the A1 recension of Pseudo-Isidore printed by Paul Hinschius. The greater part of the additions occur en bloc, at the beginning of the 39L from Stage 1.

3) In an anomalous subtype of A1, these eighteen additions are interspersed among the contents of 39L, while 39L is itself subjected to further correction and rearrangement (during the course of which one of the eighteen additions was withdrawn). The original exemplar of this subtype, complete with original scribal redactions, survives in New Haven, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library,Ms. 442 (N442). According to me, N442 is an early form of A1 that was originally copied without the supplements that were added to 39L in Stage 2 above. The extensive scribal redactions reflect an effort to bring the Leonine dossier in N442 up to date. After redaction, N442 gave rise to an entire subtype of the False Decretals that is known as the “Cluny Recension.” Despite this name we do not know where N442 was copied. We know only that the highly distinctive Leonine dossier in this manuscript experienced wide dissemination. The Leonine collection in N442 consists of 56 letters, and we will call it 56L. Very probably, 56L emerged sometime during the pontificate of Nicholas I (858-867), because the redactors of N442 contribute a papal list that concludes with Nicholas.

4) 56L was then rearranged and expanded with material from the Collectio Bobbiensis and other items, growing to a full 71 letters. This collection, 71L, circulated broadly in the High Middle Ages independently of the Pseudo-Isidorian decretals. Typically 71L concludes with an appendix of four additional pieces associated with a sixth-century collection of items on Chalcedon and the Three Chapters controversy that Eduard Schwartz christened the Collectio Sangermanensis. One of only two extant Sangermanensis mansucripts comes from Corbie; another comes from Reichenau and a third was known at Beauvais but has been lost. For Patzold, Sangermanensis material is the single most important indication of the Corbie origins of C. We have a lot more to say about the Sangermanensis in the next installment. For now, we need only note that this four-item appendix does not consist of Leo's letters, but rather a letter of Aurelius of Carthage and extracts from ep. 186 of Augustine. 

5) At some later stage, 71L and its Sangermanensis appendix received a further 26 additions. All but three of these additions come from the Collectio Grimanica, source of the Bobbiensis employed just above. This stage is a great mystery, as it is so far known to survive only in Merlin’s 1524 edition of the False Decretals.[3]

6) This expanded collection was then redacted a final time, yielding the Leo letters on hand in C. The architects of C, as we know it today, had before them A/B, and they had before them something like the 71L with Grimanica supplements in Stage 5. They adopted 39L from A/B outright. Afterwards they included all of the non-39L (that is to say, the non-Hispana) pieces from the 71L, altering the order in some cases. They either omitted or did not know the four-item appendix from the Sangermanensis. In its stead, they provided six additional Leo letters from the Collectio Quesnelliana and other sources. The sole decretal from the Collectio Corbeiensis, which for Patzold points to the Corbie provenance of the Leonine dossier in C, is to be found among these pieces. Finally, the architects of C added the greater part of the Grimanica material that was appended to 71L in Stage 5.

We have before us a many-layered phenomenon, and whether you buy Chavasse’s entire story or quibble with details (and I have smoothed over or omitted some important details, so please read Chavasse for yourself before you get any grand ideas), there is no disputing that the Leo letters in C reflect something more than a single campaign of expansion. 

What can it mean, from the perspective of the Leonnine dossier, to argue that "the core of the C recension" dates from the ninth century or that it was assembled by the Pseudo-Isidorians at Corbie? Must all the stages in this process be from the Pseudo-Isidorians at Corbie for the thesis to hold? Only the last? Here is the best that I can do: Stage 1 is Pseudo-Isidorian by definition, and its Corbie associations are proven by the extant manuscripts of the A/B recension. Stage 2 at least stands very near Pseudo-Isidore, and yet there are no demonstrable links between A1 and Corbie. Whether or not Stage 3 is Pseudo-Isidorian, it has nothing to do with Corbie, for neither the original copyists of N442 nor its many redactors can be associated with that abbey. In light of our earlier considerations about the extant manuscripts of the Bobbiensis and the Grimanica, the 71L of Stage 4 might seem Italian. Here the Sangermanensis appendix, with its Gallican and possibly Corbie-specific associations, is layered on top of the Italian material. These different associations persist through Stage 5 and Stage 6, where the Grimanica (source of the Bobbiensis and another collection with Italian associations) recurs alongside more items of Leo’s correspondence with Gallican associations, one of them from the Collectio Corbeiensis (Corbie again).

A related and probably more significant question would be how many different hands are stirring this soup. Stage 1 is Corbie and Stage 3 is not, so we are up to two at least. While the formal sources in play throughout these first three stages (the Hispana and the Quesnelliana) are typical of Pseudo-Isidore, from Stage 4 we are confronted with another world of sources that do not, as a rule, typify the Pseudo-Isidorian forgeries beyond C. Nobody has yet demonstrated that the authors of the False Decretals knew or used the Sangermanensis, the Bobbiensis or the Grimanica. Either the passage of time or the involvement of a third redactor would seem necessary to explain this shift. Relatedly, we have the use of the Bobbiensis in Stage 4, followed by the use of the source from which the Bobbiensis was derived, namely the Grimanica, in Stage 5. Another temporal interval or still another compiler would seem necessary to explain this progression. At Stage 6, we find the exclusion of some of the material assembled in Stage 4 and 5. Notably, the Sangermanensis appendix to 71L is set aside in favor of different material, including an item from the Corbeiensis. Possible Corbie associations are also reinforced with the return of 39L from the Hispana and/or A/B. Curiously, though Patzold argues that the Sangermanensis and the Corbeiensis both point to Corbie, we find them at odds in the Leonine dossier, with the Corbeiensis and its associates edging out the Sangermanensis appendix to 71L. It would seem reasonable to posit a new compiler at the level of Stage 6 to explain all of these changes, or once again a substantial temporal interval.

The Leonine dossier in C, then, probably reflects the work of more than two compilers, and perhaps also the passage of considerable time between Stage 4 and Stage 6. Because Stage 3 must postdate 858, I think it unsafe to ascribe the 102-letter collection of Leo letter’s in C to the ninth century--let alone the era of Pseudo-Isidore's activity--with any confidence. 

[1] So Benedikt Vollmann, Studien zum Priszillianismus (St. Ottilien, 1965), 106-7, who came to this conclusion in the course of editing one of Leo's letters that is present in both the Bobbiensis and the Grimanica. 

[2] Antoine Chavasse, "Les letters du pape Léon le Grand (440-461) dans l'Hispana et la collection dite des Fausses Décrétales," Revue de droit canonique 25 (1975), 28-39.

[3] This is as good a time as any to note that Merlin's editio princeps of the False Decretals, reprinted in vol. 130 of the Patrologia Latina, is generally said to have been printed from Paris, Bibliothèque de l'Assemblée Nationale, Ms. 27. Such goes, at any rate, the oft-repeated opinion of Hinschius, Decretales Pseuod-Isidorianae, lxxii-lxxiii. Yet this would seem impossible, for the Leo dossier in Ms. 27 is the standard 102-item collection described here as Stage 6 (Ms. 27 is, as far as I can tell, an ordinary C-recension manuscript), and Merlin seems to print an antecedent of this collection. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Does This Thing Still Work?

I last posted eighteen twenty months ago. As an assistant professor I have been busy, and as an assistant professor on sabbatical (as of May this year) I have been, strange to say, busier still. I am writing a book on the Pseudo-Isidorian forgeries, and all the energies that would normally go into writing blog posts have gone into writing chapters instead.

That said, I hope to resume semi-regular posting from here on out. I want to continue my series on the Theory of Pseudo-Isidore. My long review of Fried's Constitutum Constantini is still missing its final part, and I want to finish that too. (The two projects are intertwined, which is why they are both outstanding.)

Over the holidays, gentle readers. Over the holidays.

In the meantime, here is a numbered list of stuff:

1) Pseudo-Isidore has made his debut on Footnoting History.

2) My new manifesto on all things Pseudo-Isidorian is now forthcoming in Speculum. It will be called "Ebo of Reims, Pseudo-Isidore and the Date of the False Decretals." 

3) The big event in the world of Pseudo-Isidore studies this past year was the publication of a new monograph by Clara Harder: Pseudoisidor und das Papsttum: Funktion und Bedeutung des apostolischen Stuhls in den pseudoisidorischen Fälschungen (Cologne, 2014). If you read German, you should read Harder's book. My very long review is here.

4) I have agreed to edit the False Decretals for the Monumenta Germaniae Historica. In a separate post I will outline my plan for the edition. 

5) Note these other recent publications:

Karl Ubl and Daniel Ziemann, eds. Fälschung als Mittel der Politik? Pseudoisidor im Licht der neuen Forschung (Hanover, 2015). This volume collects essays from a 2013 colloquium that Ubl and Ziemann organized at Cologne. Have some abstracts.

Steffen Patzold, Gefälschtes Recht aus dem Frühmittelalter: Untersuchungen zur Herstellung und Überlieferung der pseudoisidorischen Dekretalen (Heidelberg, 2015). Patzold argues that the C-recension of the False Decretals, ascribed by convention to the High Middle Ages because no C-recension manuscripts antedate the twelfth century, in fact originated in the era of the forgeries at Corbie. I have a great deal to say about this important study and its relevance for understanding the A/B recension. With luck that will come.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Towards a Theory of Pseudo-Isidore: Addendum on the Priority of the Hispana

Teaching and other sundry chores generally force my blog into hibernation during the school year. But I’m turning on the lights for just a moment to make a quick point about the Hispana and its relationship to the A2 recension of Pseudo-Isidore.

When Zechiel-Eckes discovered three manuscripts that had been used by the Pseudo-Isidorian excerptores, he also discovered that, in at least one place, A2 followed the (clearly original) readings of one of these source manuscripts more closely than any of the other early recensions. In his later work, Zechiel-Eckes expanded his case for A2 priority, ultimately claiming that A2 represented the earliest product of the forgers. On this blog and in my other work, however, I have repeatedly characterized the Hispana as the most fundamental Pseudo-Isidorian product.

This difference of opinion exists for a great many reasons. Among these reasons are differing views on the scope and contemporary significance of Pseudo-Isidore’s anti-chorbishop polemic—something readers of this blog have already had a taste of, and something they’ll have to wade through a lot more of, as soon as the school year ends. The chorepiscopate is a rare arena wherein Pseudo-Isidore engages the opinion of his contemporaries directly, and will therefore come to interest us enormously.

But I want to set all that aside right now, and present some haphazard philological evidence that inauthentic Hispana interpolations predate A2. What follows is not the result of any systematic investigation (which I don’t have time for at the moment), but rather a few points resurrected from my notes. In other words: This should by no means be read as the extent of the evidence for Hispana priority. Nevertheless, it is strong evidence that the Hispana interpolator worked before A2 was compiled.

In a previous post, I enumerated and described the fourteen especially clear instances of inauthentic interpolation in the Hispana uncovered by Maassen. In discussing these passages, we noted that the interpolator’s interests seemed orthogonal to the interests of the decretal forgers. Of the fourteen passages at issue, eleven do not recur in the decretal forgeries at all. That is to say, the Hispana interpolators revised these passages, but the decretal forgers never bothered to cite them. Only c. 13 of Arles I, c. 11 of Toledo VI and Innocent's letter to Victricius of Rouen attracted the attention of both  the decretal forger and the Hispana interpolator. Of these three highly interesting texts, c. 11 of Toledo VI cannot help us decide questions of priority: The decretal forgers use only the title of this canon, and the interpolator removed a clause from the main text. Only c. 13 of Arles I and Innocent’s decretal are dispositive.

In every instance that A2 decretals cite the relevant passages from Arles I and Innocent, they attest to Hispana interpolations. As far as I have been able to tell, the decretals never incorporate the original, uninterpolated, Gallican versions of these passages. Either their allusions are too loose to permit a determination, or they are close enough to reveal dependence upon the interpolated Hispana.

We begin with Arles I. I highlight the Pseudo-Isidorian modifications of c. 13:
 ...quoniam multi sunt, qui contra ecclesiasticam regulam pugnare videntur et per testes redemptos putant se ad accusationem admitti debere, qui omnino non admittantur, nisi, ut supra diximus, actic publicis docuerint omni se suspicione carere.
 And behold this passage from Ps.-Viginus, JK +35:
Criminationes maiorum natu per alios non fiant, nisi per ipsos, qui crimina intendunt, si tamen ipsi digni et irrepraehensibiles apparuerint et actis publicis docuerint omni se suspicione carere et inimicitia atque irrepraehensibilem fidem ac conversationem ducere.
The first half of this text (Criminationesintendunt) comes from another source, but from “actis publicis” the source is clearly Arles I, as interpolated by Pseudo-Isidore. 

And note the similar passage in Ps.-Lucius, JK +123:
...placuit, ut criminationes maiorum natu per alios non fiant, nisi per ipsos, qui crimina intendunt, si tamen ipsi digni et irrepraehensibiles apparuerint et actis docuerint publicis omni se carere suspicione atque inimicitia....
And again, in Ps.-Dionysius, JK +139:
Crimina vero, quae episcopis impingere dicis, per alios non sinas ullo modo fieri nisi per ipsos, qui crimina intendunt, si tamen ipsi digni et irrepraehensibiles apparuerint et actis docuerint publicis omni se carere suspicione ac inimicitia...
All the Pseudo-Isidore manuscripts that Schon has taken into account, including the A2 representatives, attest to each of these Hispana interpolations . Maassen notes that the first two Hispana revisions to Arles I (“...ecclesiasticam regulam...” and “ accusationem...”) recur in other, non-Hispana recensions of Arles I. Yet the requirement to prove (via the acta publica) that one is above all suspicion ("... omni se carere suspicione...") comes from the Hispana interpolator alone. The interpolated canon also recurs in Benedictus Levita, at 1.401.

We move on to Innocent’s decretal to Victricius, JK 286. The third chapter, with Hispana revisions in bold, reads as follows:
Si quae causae vel contentiones inter clericos vel inter laicos et clericos superioris ordinis qam etiam inferioris fuerint exortae, placuit, ut secundum synodum Nicaenam congregatis omnibus eiusdem provinciae episcopis iudicium terminetur nec alicui liceat, sine praeiudicio tamen Romanae ecclesiae, cui in omnibus causis debetur reverentiam custodire, relictis his sacerdotibus, qui in eadem provincia Dei ecclesias nutu divino gubernant, ad alias convolare provincias, aut aliarum prius provinciarum episcoporum iudicium expeti vel pati. Quodsi quis forte praesumpserit, et ab officio cleri submotus et iniuriarum reus ab omnibus iudicetur. Si autem maiores causeae in medium fuerint devolutae, ad sedem apostolicam, sicut synodus statuit et beata consuetudo exigit, post iudicium episcopalte referantur.
As Maassen first noted, the Isidorus Mercator preface itself cites this same passage from Innocent’s decretal, complete with Hispana interpolations:
Legitur et in epistola Innocentii papae Victricio Rotomagensi episcopo directa ita: “Si quae causae vel contentiones inter clericos et laicos vel inter clericos tam maioris ordinis quam etiam inferioris fuerint exortae, placuit, ut secundum synodum Nicenam congregatis omnibus eiusdem provinciae episcopis iudicium terminetur,” et reliqua.
Maassen was particularly intrigued by the fact that the clericos/laicos interpolation did not exactly correspond with the enhanced Hispana text. In fact, though all Pseudo-Isidorian versions of this passage attempt to insert a reference to the laity where the original decretal discusses only clerici, they all do so in slightly different ways, as if a graphically confusing interlinear addition gave  rise to several diverse interpretations (all of which, however, have identical force). Isidorus Mercator’s citation, of course, also picks up the tell-tale “placuit” and “omnibus” retouchings: This is a clear citation from the interpolated Hispana.

The A2 recension includes Isidorus Mercator’s preface, and as was the case with Arles I, all the manuscripts Schon collated attest to these readings. You might object, however, that Isidore's preface does not, strictly speaking, belong at the head of A2. The preface describes the full, three-part Pseudo-Isidorian collection, but in A2 only the decretals from Part I and the start of Part III follow. The preface could be a later accretion to A2; I have, myself, raised this possibility in print. It is therefore fortunate to have Ps.-Marcellus, JK +160, from the body of A2, to confirm the anteriority of the Innocent interpolations:
Nec cui liceat sine praeiudicio Romanae ecclesiae, quae in omnibus causis debetur reverentia custodiri relictis his sacerdotibus, qui in eadem provincia Dei ecclesias nutu divino gubernant, ad alias convolare provincias vel aliorum provinciarum episcoporum iudicium expeti vel pati, sed omnibus eiusdem provinciae episcopis congregatis iudicium auctoritate huius sedis terminetur...
Once again, all the codices Schon has collated, including all A2 representatives, confirm the presence of the bolded Hispana interpolations.

A fuller investigation is necessary to establish whether and to what extent the decretal forgeries also attest to the benign revisions and corrections that constitute the majority of the Pseudo-Isidorian activity at the level of the Hispana. But this much is undeniable: In those rare instances where the decretals in A2 incorporate Hispana passages that have been supplied with inauthentic content by the Hispana interpolator, they always attest to the Hispana interpolations.

Brief remarks on what I think that means, and what I think it does not mean:

1) The Hispana was manifestly not interpolated to facilitate work on the decretal forgeries. As we have seen, the vast majority of the revised passages are never used by the decretal forger at all. The interpolator's views are not necessarily at odds with ideas advanced in  the decretal forgeries, but his opinions are less extreme and embrace a broader variety of issues, as we will see as soon as the summer finally, finally arrives.

2) Revisionary work on the Hispana began before work on the decretals of A2. Key passages had already been interpolated when the decretal forgers set to work. As far as I have been able to tell (but prove me wrong!), the decretal forgers used only the interpolated versions of these passages. In many cases, particularly with the Innocent decretal, their allusions are too loose to permit textual conclusions. But whenever they get close enough for us to tell, it turns out that the interpolated recension is the source. The clericos/laicos variants might even suggest that our decretal forgers worked from a manuscript wherein some of these interpolations existed as interlinear or marginal additions—the interpolators' working copy.

3) Future posts in this series will discuss an issue I have so far studiously avoided (for reasons that will become clear): Our sole complete witness to the interpolated Hispana, Vat. lat. 1341 (V1341), carries two decretal forgeries in the name of Damasus (text available here and here). One of these also recurs in A2 (see Schon's text); the other is taken up only in A1 and A/B (again, Schon's text). I am not at all convinced that the priority of the Hispana interpolations can be used to assert the priority of either of these Damasus forgeries, solely on the grounds that interpolations and forgeries reside alongside one another in V1341. We need to distinguish clearly between the interpolated Hispana, which was once available in as many as seven medieval manuscripts, and which was expanded with many decretal forgeries to yield the full three-part collection of Isidorus Mercator; and V1341, which is but one mid-century, possibly idiosyncratic witness to this complex text. We must be open to the possibility that the two decretal forgeries in Damasus’s name were added to V1341 well after the Hispana had been revised and interpolated (but before the specific sub-version in V1341 had come to be blended with the other decretal forgeries). The arguments that these two Damasus forgeries advance are markedly different—markedly more extreme and much more focused on the problem of episcopal accusations—than the views of whomever was responsible for revising the Hispana.

To be continued...

Back to Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart V or Part V Addendum.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pseudo-Isidore is on twitter...

Make of that what you will.

Towards a Theory of Pseudo-Isidore: Part V, Addendum

Before moving on to the decretal forgeries, I realize that we have left an important question unanswered. In Part III and again in Part IV, I suggested we ask about the nature of the interpolated Hispana more fundamentally. What is this Hispana recension, and what was it created for?

We begin with readership. Although only one direct interpolated-Hispana manuscript survives today, the Middle Ages knew more copies. Altogether, we have evidence of at least seven separate medieval manuscripts, and in a recent article I argue that two rather clearly distinct interpolated-Hispana recensions have been incorporated within the Pseudo-Isidorian forgeries. The point is that this was a text that saw significant circulation in its own right, uncombined with the decretal forgeries.

Pseudo-Isidorian enthusiasts will remember that the interpolated Hispana is simply a revised and lightly interpolated version of the Hispana Gallica, and that the Hispana Gallica is a rather corrupt and problematic (but fully authentic and non-Pseudo-Isidorian) Gallican version of the ordinary Collectio Hispana. Sometime after the 850s, those involved with the early circulation of our forgeries got their hands on an ordinary Hispana text and used it to correct lingering problems with the interpolated Hispana incorporated in their forgeries. (My recent article presents pretty conclusive evidence of this point.) Before the 850s, though, the men behind Pseudo-Isidore could only rely on their ingenuity to correct problems with the Hispana Gallica, because--and this is point is very basic but also very crucial--they only had access to Hispana texts through the corrupt Hispana Gallica.

It is therefore interesting to observe that, with evidence for seven medieval witnesses, the interpolated Hispana does rather better than the Hispana Gallica, which has left behind evidence of only four medieval witnesses. Granted, Pseudo-Isidore has been studied more intensively than the Gallican Hispana, so it is possible that our knowledge of interpolated-Hispana manuscripts is simply better. Nevertheless, we have every reason to suppose that the interpolated Hispana and the Hispana Gallica enjoyed roughly comparable degrees of circulation in Carolingian Gaul. The interpolated Hispana might even be called modestly successful from the standpoint of manuscript circulation, and it is not overbold to ascribe that success to its defining feature--the philological improvements that our interpolators supplied.

The interpolated Hispana has only received inauthentic adjustments in a few instances. In Part IV we outlined Maassen's fourteen especially clear cases of interpolation. There is nothing systematic or comprehensive about these interpolations. We have also seen that two of the most extensive revisions--the adjustments to the opening passages of Innocent I's letter to Victricius of Rouen, and the adjustments to c. 7 of the Second Council of Seville--are related in interesting ways to two decretal texts that we have placed in the Hispana complex (Divinis praeceptis and Cum in Dei nomine). We have even wondered whether these two Hispana interpolations do not, in some way, reflect the increased attention that c. 7 and Innocent's letter received in the process of composing Divinis praeceptis and Cum in Dei nomine.

Everything suggests, therefore, that the interpolated Hispana is nothing more than a straightforward effort to correct a problematic but important legal collection. Those involved in the correction of this legal collection were simultaneously deploying it in the service of honest (perhaps Gregory IV and Divinis praeceptis) and not-so-honest (Pseudo-Leo and Cum in Dei nomine) legal arguments. Their early appropriations left interesting traces (i.e., c. 7 of Seville II and Innocent to Victricius), but those traces were not the purpose of the revised recension. They are merely its most interesting features. The improvements were sufficient to win the interpolated Hispana some modest circulation in Frankish Gaul, where non-Gallican Hispana recensions were hard to come by.

So that's what the interpolated Hispana is. But why were these corrections undertaken? What is our text for? Those are very appropriate questions to put to a legal forgery, but maybe they're not well suited for our text. We have seen, after all, that the interpolated Hispana resembles a forgery rather less than it resembles a juristic or even a philological project--or even something approaching a work of scholarship. In that respect, it puts us in mind of another rather odd, disorganized, but occasionally scholarly element in the Pseudo-Isidorian library, namely the capitularies of Benedictus Levita. Way back in Part I, I had this to say about our good friend Benedictus, the supposed date of his collection to 847, and his relationship to the forgery project:
After long and tedious investigations, I’ve begun to think of Benedictus Levita, at base, as something like a thinly disguised florilegium of mostly-genuine legal material. It has some Pseudo-Isidorian elements, but for long stretches it’s just somebody’s enormous pile of random legal flotsam and jetsam. It certainly seems that Pseudo-Isidore availed himself of some portions of this monumental collection of favorite quotations. Genuine sources, in particular, recur in Pseudo-Isidore, complete with Benedictus Levita’s alterations and truncations. It also seems that the Pseudo-Isidorians, at some point, took this enormous legal florilegium, slapped on a preface, and did some light editing to make the whole thing look, however superficially, like a collection of capitulary legislation. So I would date the thin capitulary veneer after 847. The contents, though—who knows?
I cannot yet provide a good answer to the what-is-it-for question, but I can point to parallels with Benedict's capitularies, and propose the following: By sometime in the early 830s at the latest, certain people in the Pseudo-Isidorian orbit had begun to dig very deep indeed into the legal traditions of Western Christendom. Some of these people unearthed a legal collection, known outside of Spain primarily in heavily corrupt form, and began trying to sort it out. Some of these people (the same people? different people? at the same time? later?) began compiling an enormous and broadly disorganized legal florilegium, drawing on scattered secular and ecclesiastical legal sources, as well as on the interpolated Hispana.

To be continued...

Back to Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV or Part V, forward to Addendum on Hispana priority