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The Eucharist in Medieval Canon Law

Book description

Thomas Izbicki presents a new examination of the relationship between the adoration of the sacrament and canon law from the twelfth to fifteenth centuries. The medieval Church believed Christ's glorified body was present in the Eucharist, the most central of the seven sacraments, and the Real Presence became explained as transubstantiation by university-trained theologians. Expressions of this belief included the drama of the elevated host and chalice, as well as processions with a host in an elaborate monstrance on the Feast of Corpus Christi. These affirmations of doctrine were governed by canon law, promulgated by popes and councils; and liturgical regulations were enforced by popes, bishops, archdeacons and inquisitors. Drawing on canon law collections and commentaries, synodal enactments, legal manuals and books about ecclesiastical offices, Izbicki presents the first systematic analysis of the Church's teaching about the regulation of the practice of the Eucharist.


'The influence, construction, and use of medieval canon law is richly illuminated through such a focused study.'

Kriston R. Rennie Source: Renaissance Quarterly

'Izbicki begins with an indispensible guide to the canon lawyers themselves. The reader will find herself drawn back to this useful reference often as she gets lost among the thicket of references necessary to the field. … The material that Izbicki brings to light in this book offers a host of valuable information on the everyday devotional life of medieval Christians as they celebrated the central ritual of their religion. Any scholar of the great medieval drama will find this book an invaluable source for uncovering the rich religious life of a millennium of western civilisation.'

Gary Macy Source: Journal of Ecclesiastical History

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