On Hospitals – Welfare, Law, and Christianity in Western Europe, 400-1320

On Hospitals – Welfare, Law, and Christianity in Western Europe, 400-1320
pdf | 5.3 MB | English | Isbn:019884753X |
Author: Sethina Watson; | PAge: 401 | Year: 2020


This ground-breaking study explores welfare institutions in western law in the middle ages and establishes, for the first time, a legal model for the hospital. On Hospitals takes us beyond canon law, Carolingian capitularies, and Justinian’s Code and Novels, to late Roman testamentary law, identifying new legislation and legal initiatives in every period. In challenging long established orthodoxies, a new history of the hospital emerges, one that is
fundamentally a European history.

To the history of law, it offers an unusual lens through which to explore canon law. What this monograph identifies for the first time is that the absence of law is the key. This is a study of what happened when there was no legal inheritance, nor even an authority through which to act. Here, at the fringes of law, pioneers worked, and forgers played. Their efforts shed light on councils, both familiar and forgotten, and on major figures, including Abbot Ansegis of Saint Wandrille, Abbot Wala
of Corbie, the Pseudo-Isidorian forgers, Pope Alexander III, Bernard of Pavia, and Robert de Courson.

Finally On Hospitals offers a new picture of welfare at the heart of Christianity. The place of welfare houses, at the edge of law, has for too long encouraged an assumption that welfare itself was peripheral to popes and canonists and so, by implication, to those who designed the priorities of the Church. This study reveals the central place for them all, across a thousand years, of Christian caritas. We discover a Christian foundation that could belong not to the Church, but to the
whole society of the faithful.

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