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  • Cited by 4
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
September 2021
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Book description

From the establishment of a coherent doctrine on sacramental marriage to the eve of the Reformation, late medieval church courts were used for marriage cases in a variety of ways. Ranging widely across Western Europe, including the Upper and Lower Rhine regions, England, Italy, Catalonia, and Castile, this study explores the stark discrepancies in practice between the North of Europe and the South. Wolfgang P. Müller draws attention to the existence of public penitential proceedings in the North and their absence in the South, and explains the difference in demand, as well as highlighting variations in how individuals obtained written documentation of their marital status. Integrating legal and theological perspectives on marriage with late medieval social history, Müller addresses critical questions around the relationship between the church and medieval marriage, and what this reveals about both institutions.


'An ambitious and successful demonstration of the markedly different ways the medieval canon law of marriage was put into practice. Based on a command of archival evidence, it makes an important contribution to European legal and social history.'

R. H. Helmholz - University of Chicago

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