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The sacramental world in the Sentences of Peter Lombard.


"THE ITALIANS HAVE THE papacy, the Germans have the empire, and the French have learning," so the ancient saying goes. Equally ancient is the fact that Paris, in the words of R. W. Southern, was "the Scholastic metropolis of northern Europe," (1) a fact signaled by the rise of the University of Paris in the last decades of the twelfth century. Indeed, prior to the university stood the cathedral schools of Chartres, Laon, Rheims, Orleans, and Notre Dame-de-Paris. And they, in turn, stood in the midst of a rising urban society and the revival of speculative thinking among the masters of the schools, a revival founded on the confidence that reason, coupled with logic and semantics, could shed light on the many subjects not only in liberal arts, but especially in advanced studies: law, philosophy, and theology. (2)

The masters were the early Scholastics--in theology, masters like Anselm of Laon (d. 1117), Abelard (d. 1142/1143), Gilbert of Poitiers (d. 1154), Hugh of St. Victor (d. 1142), and Peter Lombard (d. 1160)--who sought to bring this revival of systematic thought to their disciplines, to create general syllabi that included everything their students ought to know, and to train full-time scholars in disciplinary content, mastery of past authorities, and methodology, including their willingness, and readiness, to criticize, even to set aside, ideas from those traditions deemed to have outlived their usefulness. (3) In the process, these early Scholastic theologians invented a new, systematic way of doing theology that would dominate the centuries to come.

Peter Lombard

The exemplar is Peter, known as "the Lombard," because he came from Lombardy, born at Novara between 1095 and 1100. (4) Although the first 31 years of his life bask in legends spun from the cloth of his later prominence as Celebrer Theologus and Episcopus Parisiensis, they remain a complete blank. The first documented reference to him is a letter from Bernard of Clairvaux to Prior Gilduin of the recently founded abbey of St. Victor in Paris, recommending Peter, who had proved himself in theology at the cathedral school of Rheims, where the tradition of France's well-known early twelfth-century theologian, Anselm of Laon, flourished.

Peter arrived in Paris in 1136 and studied with Master Hugh of St. Victor. By 1142, however, he was already a celebrated writer and teacher, and hardly two years later ranked with other famous Parisian masters, among them Ivo of Chartres (d. 1115), Bernard of Clairvaux (d. 1153), and Peter Abelard (d. 1142/3), masters, in the poetic words of Walter Map, "whose mouths breathe balsam and nard." (5) As a result of Peter's celebrity, the canons of Notre Dame, in search of a theologian of distinction for their school, elected him a canon of the cathedral in 1144, bringing high profile to the school, which, within several decades, provided the theology faculty of the University of Paris. His career also involved ordination to the diaconate and presbyterate, and eventually to his consecration as archbishop of Paris on July 28, 1159. He died the next year. The epitaph on his tomb was simple, direct, and telling: "Here lies Master Peter the Lombard, bishop of Paris, who composed the Book of Sentences, Glosses of the Psalms and of the Epistles, the day of whose death is the thirteenth of the calends of August." (6)

Peter's rapid advance was all the more remarkable in that he was a complete outsider in the rigidly structured world of regalian France: a Lombard, without feudal status, royal or ecclesiastical network, and no financial standing: possessed only of his status as master and scholar. Clearly it was his status as theologian, teacher, and author that brought him to the canons of the cathedral and to the archbishopric of Paris.

Peter's Published Works

The Scholastic theologians of the early twelfth century lectured principally on Scripture, favoring the Psalms and the Pauline epistles for their hermeneutical and doctrinal studies. Peter's commentary (Glossa) on the Psalms, composed before 1138, and his commentary (Collectanea) on the epistles, composed between 1139 and 1141, became instant classics and the most cited, copied, and studied exegetical works of the century, a judgment confirmed by both his epitaph and the testimony of his friend and disciple, Herbert of Bosham. (7)

With equal speed the Sentences became Peter's crowning work, the text (summa) of his course in theology, the second and final edition of which is dated to the years 1155-1157.(8) Although known to his earliest students as "The Master," very quickly he became known as the "Master of the Sentences," (9) and Alexander of Hales, as regent master of the university, was the first to base his ordinary lectures on the Sentences (ca. 1223-1227) rather than on Scripture. (10) Soon thereafter, a beginning student in the faculty of theology was required to give cursory lectures on the Sentences, holding the rank sententiarus. Newly arrived in Paris at the outset of academic 1252, for instance, Thomas Aquinas was a sententiar for the next four years, revising and publishing his commentary on the Sentences in the form of questions and discussions arising from the text as Scriptum super libros Sententiarum in 1256. (11) Indeed, Martin Luther (d. 1546), who lectured on the Sentences at the University of Erfurt between 1509 and 1511, wrote marginal notes on the copy of the Sentences available to him in the university library of the Augustinian priory at Erfurt, a text complete with summaries of its principal theses by Master Henry of Gorcum (d. 1431). (12) The case can be made that the canons and decrees of the Council of Trent (1545-1563) comprise something of a commentary on the Sentences. (13)

In addition to Peter's major works, his status as priest and bishop occasioned a number of sermons, unfortunately neglected until the late 1800s, when scholars studied numerous codices, identifying 33 sermons as authentic. (14)


Peter is considered a pioneer in the development of theological method, soon to be elaborated and fixed in form and method by Thomas Aquinas and his 13th-century colleagues. Indeed, it has been said that "without the Sentences, the Summa Theologica could hardly have been written, or at least, it would have taken a very different form." (15) As already noted, however, Peter was part of an educational world in process of revitalization and renewal. As Marcia Colish observes in her magisterial study of Peter, he and his colleagues were "contributing members of the renaissance of learning that swept through the twelfth-century schools in all fields of learning." (16) Peter and his Scholastic colleagues stood, confronting a massive pedagogical assignment: to design a curriculum for teaching professional theologians, to construct syllabi, to devise pedagogical strategies for training students to think theologically, and to show them how to evaluate and analyze the extensive legacy of Christian tradition and the positions of rival contemporary thinkers. (17)

The result was the invention of systematic theology; the vital means of doing it was the collection of sentences. Though innovators, the twelfth-century masters had a long line of predecessors whose opinions (sententiae) were collected on a wide range of doctrinal, philosophical, legal, liturgical, and practical subjects, all of which had Scripture as their focus. For instance, in the West the sentences were collected and handed down by clerics like Isidore of Seville (d. 636), who sought to restore the traditions of learning in Spain. Famed for the encyclopedic Etymologies, he developed a collection of canons and decretals known as the Collectio hispana, to which he added a manual of doctrine and practice, drawing freely on Western predecessors like Ambrose, Augustine, and Gregory the Great. He called the collection, Sententiae, a work that inspired a line of clerical scholars who had a profound impact on the culture and educational practice of medieval Europe. (18)

By Peter's time collections of sentences stretched back well beyond Gregory, Augustine, Ambrose, and Jerome to Cyprian of Carthage in the third-century West, and beyond the Cappadocian Fathers and John Chrysostom to Origen and Clement in the third-century East. To these must be added centuries of papal and episcopal magisterial pronouncements and conciliar and synodal decretals. (19)


Serious questions arose, however, when the authorities cited in the collections of sentences disagreed about biblical teaching, doctrine, and practice to the point of contradictions, both apparent and real. Enter the quaestio. Toward the end of the eleventh century at Laon in northwestern France, a distinguished master, Anselm by name, brought its cathedral school fame. Together with his brother Ralph, he created a school of disciples. In his theological teaching, rooted as it was in the Sacred Page, Anselm encountered considerable interpretive discord in the collections of sentences, discord that raised serious questions (quaestiones) about the opinions of the traditional authorities and how to interpret them. Questions, for instance, plagued masters and students alike about impediments to marriage, a rite that had gradually been withdrawing from the secular domain of the civil lawyers and entering the sacramental domain of the church and its canon lawyers. A particularly sticky quaestio arose about whether a prior adulterous affair was an impediment to marriage. The collected sentences provided a clear clash of opinion, in this case between Pope Leo I (440-461) and Augustine of Hippo (357-430). For the pope the answer is a clear yes: "No man may lead a woman into matrimony whom he has first polluted by adultery"; for Augustine, a clear no: "[It] is possible to become the husband of a woman with whom he has committed adultery." (20)

The underlying concern was that the adulterous couple might conspire for the death of the wife's husband (or of the husband's wife)--not a few, it seems, had so conspired. Reflecting his Anselmian predecessors, Peter raises the question in the Sentences, and then resolves the conflict between Leo and Augustine. His solution (determinatio) is: "If the couple repents the adultery and has had nothing to do with the death of her husband, there is no impediment." (21)

On Anselm's death (1117), his disciples collected the sentences, questions, and determinations in systematic texts (summae), the two most important of which are the Sententiae divinae paginae and the Sententiae Anselmi. Although Anselm revered the traditions as he had received them, the questions that arose in his teaching opened the way for rational inquiry, which meant questions that call--sometimes clamor--for reasoned answers. (22)

It was not long before the Anselmian school's best-known student, the lively, restless, and independent-minded Peter Abelard (1079-1143), who found the Anselmians stodgy (to say the least), was a master at the royal abbey school of Ste. Genevieve de Montagne on the outskirts of Paris, an important port of call for avant-garde thinkers like Abelard, because the abbot licensed such masters without scrutinizing the content of their work. (23) For Abelard, in whose works Peter immersed himself, the first key to wisdom was constant questioning: To doubt one is led to question, and to question one is led through rational analysis to truth. This conviction led to his challenging tract, Sic et non, in which he lines up the sentences of the authorities on both sides of important, often burning, questions--whether God is omnipotent, whether humans sin without willing it, whether faith is based on reason, and the like--without resolving the evident contradictions. (24) He would then invite his students to resolve the conflicts by reasoning, that is, by dialectic learned in their studies of the liberal arts, principally from Aristotle's works on logic (The Categories and On Interpretation) and Porphyry's commentary on the latter (Isagoge). They had been originally translated into Latin by Boethius (d. 525), and considered, together with the books preserved in the celebrated monastic library of Cassiodorus (d. 580), the Vivarium, the major sources of education in the early medieval West.


Twelfth-century Paris was the "Scholastic metropolis" in large part because of its learned doctor scientiae theologiae; its monument was not a building but Peter Lombard's Sententiae in IV libris distinctae, a title customarily translated, The Four Books of the Sentences, or simply the Sentences.

Organizing the Sentences

There were, of course, ways other than four books by which to organize a theology based on collections of sentences, questions, and determinations. (25) For instance, Abelard's three works bearing the title Theologia suggest that he divided theology into three parts: faith, charity, and sacraments. Abelard's contemporary at Ste. Genevieve, Gilbert of Poitiers (d. 1154), proposed a four-part organization of the sentences, but he and his disciples quickly dropped the proposal in favor of a 14-book summa, including eight books on the sacraments.

Hugh of St. Victor (d. 1142), however, had a distinctive organizing principle rooted in his vision of the history of salvation. He titled his work De sacramentis christianae fidei, because in his view the ways God comes to humans and redeems them are sacramental; thus, he divided his summa into two books, the first devoted to God's creating and establishing the world and its contents; the second, to God's subsequent work of restoration and transformation. (26) The anonymous Victorine disciple, who authored the Summa sententiarum, divided his text into seven books, starting with the theological virtues and ending with the sacraments. A Parisian contemporary of Peter's, Robert Pullen (d. 1146), produced the largest sentence collection of the century. Divided into eight books, the first devoted to God as creator and triune, followed by books on creation, on christological issues, and on sin and its sources, concluding with reprises on penance, the Eucharist, and the last things.

Peter's Four Books

About the Sentences, Peter says in his prologue:

I have ... devoted myself to clarifying the obscurities of theological inquiries and also to conveying, to the full extent of my limited intelligence, an understanding of the Church's sacraments, for I am unable to justify opposing the wishes of brothers who are eager to learn and are repeatedly asking me to use my tongue and pen in the service of their praiseworthy studies in Christ; it is His love that spurs on in me this pair of yoked horses.... In a short work are brought together the opinions [sententiae] of the fathers, whose testimonies are included so that there is no need for any researcher to open too many books; for such a person the compact, small size of my work provides without effort whatever he needs to find. Furthermore, in this exercise I desire not only a devout reader, but also an open-minded critic, especially where so important an inquiry after the truth is involved. My wish is that this question may have as many finders of the truth as it has opponents! Now, so that what one is searching for may more easily come to view, I have prefaced what follows with titles used to identify the chapters of each of the books. (27)

This "short, compact, and small work" comprises four separate books as the title indicates, and occupies two printed volumes, totaling over 1200 pages in the Specilegium critical edition (1971-1981). (28) The first book covers 48 distinctions (distinctiones) (29) that explore the doctrine about God as both creator and triune; the second, 44 distinctions, about creation, including the angels, the six days of creation, Adam and Eve, and the Fall (all controversial in his day); and the third, 40 distinctions, about Christology, including issues both theological and devotional. (30)

The fourth and final book, however, is my direct concern. (31) Although Peter appropriately devoted the last eight distinctions (distinctions 43-50) to eschatology (resurrection and judgment, the condition of the resurrected, and the form, sentence, and punishment in the judgment), the principal part of the book treats the sacraments in 42 distinctions:

Distinctions 1-2: Sacraments in General

Distinctions 3-6: Baptism

Distinction 7: Confirmation

Distinctions 8-13: Eucharist

Distinctions 14-22: Penance

Distinction 23: Extreme Unction

Distinctions 24-25: Holy Orders

Distinctions 26-41: Marriage

From the concerns of his predecessors and contemporaries, especially Hugh of St. Victor and the Victorines, it is clear that sacraments were much on the twelfth-century theological mind. A principal reason was the reform movement initiated by Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085), aimed not only at encroachments of secular powers in what he regarded as the ecclesiastical sphere, but also at discipline and moral abuses, especially among the clergy. In the fraying moral climate of the times, clerical abuses raised questions about the validity of the sacraments administered by immoral, schismatic, and excommunicated priests, and, in the process, disclosed the absence of a theology about the sacraments in general and about specific sacraments.

Indeed, even their number was at issue. A glance at Peter's list above indicates that by mid-twelfth century seven was the accepted number, even if not by everyone; and a glance at his allocation of space points to which sacraments required special attention, namely, penance with nine distinctions and marriage with sixteen--more than half the total number of distinctions.

In addition to frayed morality, an equally prominent reason was contemporary antisacramental movements, especially the Cathari, known as the Albigensians in southern France and as the Patarenes in Lombardy, who rejected the flesh and material creation as evil, concluding about sacraments that God does not act through evil instruments. Indeed, the word "heretic" was reserved especially for the Cathari in the next century, when a crusade against them was mounted (1208) and the Inquisition subsequently formed (1233) to deal with them. (32)

Sacraments in General

By the twelfth century, and for the first time in Western Christianity, there was a strongly felt need for a theology of the sacraments that went beyond Augustine's inherited definition that a "sacrament was the sign of a sacred reality." (33) The breadth of the definition managed to include up to 30 sacred signs, ranging from those central to "Old and New Law" to those of evolving ecclesiastical customs and traditions, like holy water and blest ashes. Indeed, for Augustine, although baptism was the axial sacramental event in the history of salvation in the "New Law," the Lord's prayer and the sign of the cross--to mention only two--were sacramenta.

Given the absence of a sacramental theology and the bewildering diversity in the signs of sacred reality, it is hardly a surprise that the centuries leading up to the Scholastics were marked by sharp debates about the nature of sacred signs, particularly those central to Christian tradition and especially the Eucharist, marriage, and penance. The underlying issue was whether the sign pointed to a sacred reality elsewhere or to one both contained in and conveyed by the sign. (34)

Such debates changed significantly in the early twelfth century, however, when Hugh of St. Victor deepened and specified the Augustinian definition. For him the rite itself (sacramentum tantum) not only resembled or pointed to the inner reality (res) but also contained and conveyed that inner reality (reset sacramentum). (35) The clarification was critical for the theology of sacraments in general, a clarification made permanent by the increasingly widespread use of Peter's Sentences as the text in theology that confirmed the long-held conviction of ordinary people that they encountered the Redeemer in the rites. Thus, Peter: "A sacrament is properly so called, which is a sign of the grace of God and the form of invisible grace, in as much as it bears the likeness of the grace and is its cause. Thus, the sacraments were instituted for the sake not only of signifying but of sanctifying." (36) Further, in his distinctions on the individual sacraments, he demonstrated how the rite itself signifies its distinctive inner reality and conveys it to the recipient. As will be evident in the discussions of penance and marriage that follow, each of the sacramental rites in its own distinctive way afforded the participant an encounter with saving and sanctifying grace.


Penance occupies a good deal of attention in the Sentences" (distinctions 14-22), because penance gradually became for the medievals what baptism was for their patristic predecessors. For the early Fathers, baptism, as the source of forgiveness and reconciliation, was literally the crux of Christian life. The master patristic catechist of the rites of initiation, Cyril of Jerusalem (d. 387), depicted the already venerable ritual and inner reality of baptism conveyed to the newly initiated at Easter:

After [the stripping and anointing] you were led to the holy pool of sacred baptism, just as Christ was carried from the cross to the tomb that is before your eyes. (37) And after each of you ... made that saving profession [in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit you] descended three times in the water, and ascended again, thus signifying symbolically the three days of burial of Christ.... And at that very moment you were both dying and being born, for the water of salvation was at once your grave and mother. (38)

Baptism remained the axial moment in conversion and reconciliation for much of the first 500 years, primarily because adult baptism was the norm. Yet even before Cyril's time, the heroic age embodied in the martyrs, confessors, and early Fathers had been giving way to more ordinary times and people, times and people marked by postbaptismal sin. The question arose: "If we 'confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins,' as the creed holds, is a second reconciliation possible?"

The answer emerged only gradually: a rite patterned after the demanding process of adult conversion known as the catechumenate. (39) Like baptismal reconciliation, and called in the West poenitentia secunda or publica, it was a once-in-a-lifetime public event reserved for the baptized who had fallen into, and repented of, grave sins, the most flagrant of which were called the "canonical triad" (apostasy, adultery, and murder). (40) Pope Innocent I (402-417) briefly described the rite in Rome, actually part of the Lenten catechumenate: "As to those performing public penance ... the custom of the Roman church shows that they are to be reconciled on the Thursday before Easter. Moreover, it is the part of the bishop to judge as to the gravity of the offenses, to weigh the accusation of the penitent, to appraise the corrective of his or her weeping and tears, and to order the penitent to be absolved, when he has seen an appropriate satisfaction." (41)

Although this would be the Roman rite of reconciliation for centuries, already Christians in the West were reaching out to the migrant Celtic, Frankish, and Germanic tribes that were beginning both to surround them and to enter their lives. In the process, public penance gradually disappeared from the life of Christians north of the Alps, principally because the missionaries to the tribes were monks, themselves mostly Celts and Anglo-Saxons. Once baptized, however, tribal members did not adjust readily to the moral norms of their new religion. (42) But the monks had brought with them and prescribed the same means they themselves used to receive assurance of forgiveness: private, repeated confession, and continuous works of penance prescribed as remedies for the wounds caused by sin. (43)

Their practice took hold, prompting Alcuin of York (740-804), the prime mover in educational reform in the Carolingian Renaissance, to compose influential letter-treatises (epistolae) about penance. In one, composed for the masters and students of the abbey school at Tours, he wrote that "youth are exposed to numerous traps of diabolic trickery, of carnal desires, and of other adolescent vices," and urges their masters to expose them to "what touches the salvation of their soul," namely, the salutary "remedy of penance," the "gift of confession," and the "gift of pardon," in which "the most kindly judge gives us an occasion to accuse ourselves of our sins before a priest of God." (44) Although public penance remained, especially south of the Alps, private penance had come to stay.

There was a drawback, however, that sparked resistence. Compared to public penance, private penance seemed to open an easy road to forgiveness, encouraging recidivism. The vision of the monks, however, was that repentance, including amendment of life, was essential, and that the penance they prescribed was intended to have a lasting effect: It was to be a remedy, and the penances imposed were often lengthy and heavy. The antidote to recidivism is reflected in their penitential books, appearing first in the Celtic church of the sixth century, which included lists of sins with graded penances for each kind of sin. Private penance and the penitentials spread throughout Europe in the following centuries, in spite of the resistence from local councils concerned about recidivism and the bewildering variety of inconsistent penalties recommended, not to mention frequent dispensations from them. (45)

The early twelfth century, however, saw a shift in both the understanding of penance and its practice. Public penance had become the exception, penances were far less rigorous, and attention focused on the penitent's intentions and the role of the sacrament in spiritual growth. (46) The early Scholastics realized that penance, the origin of which could be traced back to Adam, Eve, and the Fall, should be integrated into their emerging theology of sacraments in general, and that its contemporary form and practice should be rationalized.

The attempt, however, generated three major debates. The first was about the grounds for the change from public to private penance, and focused on the repeatability of penance. The second was about the precise point in the three-part sacramental process when sin was remitted: contrition. confession, and the work of satisfaction for sin. The third concerned the role of a priest in remitting sin.

The masters north of the Alps were far readier to reject the ancient practice than those to their south. (47) A major issue for the Transalpines was the grounds for repeatability. The Laonese school, for instance, argued on the grounds of "living" tradition: the once-in-a-lifetime practice of public penance in the early centuries made sound pastoral sense then; present pastoral needs now require the repeatability of penance. For the Victorine school the argument was rooted in the biblical vision of a God of goodness who wishes to redeem and sanctify humankind: he reconciled the sinner, who sins again and again--even the same sin--yet repents, should be pardoned again and again. For the anonymous author of the Sententiae divinitatis penance is sorrow for past sin and the sincere desire not to sin again. (48) The human predicament, the author well understood, was that, no matter what, people sin again: private penance, not public penance, is a remedy for those fresh outbreaks. Even Gratian, down in Bologna, argued for repeatability: charity rules that the ancient tradition of public penance should not be enforced, even though its rules should remain on the books. Why? Although Augustine, in other contexts, argued for unrepeatability, Gratian cited the anti-Donatist Augustine, who defined penance as the way of dealing with postbaptismal sin, yet argued that Donatists thought that rebaptism was the only means to reconciliation. (49)

Peter argued for repeatability by citing what seem to be self-contradictory opinions of the authorities. In the first distinction on penance (distinction 14), for instance, he cited Ambrose, Augustine, and Origen that penance is a once-in-a-lifetime event. He then cites Augustine, Ambrose, and John Chrysostom that penance can be repeated as often as sins arise. He then "determined" the question posed by the contradictory opinions, arguing for repeatability, and citing Hebrews 10, (50) which, as he interpreted the passage with John Chrysostom's support, asserted both the sufficiency of Christ's sacrificial death into which one is baptized once-and-for-all and the repeatability of penance:

From these and other testimonies it is clearly demonstrated that we rise from sins through penance not simply once but often, and that true penance is performed frequently. For us who sin deliberately there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, as the Apostle says [Heb. 10:26], that is, a second sacrifice, because it was necessary that Christ suffer only once. Nor does a second baptism remain.... However, a second penance remains, and a third, and another, as John Chrysostom says about the passage: "It should be known," he says, "that at this place [Heb. 10:26] some arise to take penance away because of these words, as if a sinner were not capable of getting up from a fall a second and a third time, and thereafter. Indeed, in this passage [the Apostle] excludes neither penance nor propitiation, which often takes place through penance; rather [he excludes] a second baptism and a second sacrifice." (51)

The second dispute concerned the precise point in the threefold sacramental process at which reconciliation takes place. Was it contrition (compunctio cordis), oral confession (confessio oris), or the work of satisfaction (satisfactio operis)? (52) Supported by their predecessors, all agreed that reconciliation took place prior to the satisfaction imposed (canonical penance), an agreement that provided the grounds for indulgences to remit some or all of the satisfaction due to sin, coupled with the doctrine of purgation after death to accomplish any satisfaction remaining--purgatory. (53)

Rather, the dispute was about whether reconciliation is the result of contrition or confession. Contemporary canonists (Gratian and his fellow canonists) championed the opinion that confession together with priestly absolution was the moment of remission and reconciliation, while Peter and his fellow Scholastics championed contrition as the moment. Both brought to bear a dossier of patristic and magisterial authorities pro and con, addressed the often serious difficulty of access to a priest, insisted that the integrity of the sacrament requires contrition, confession, and satisfaction, and affirmed the need of satisfaction for the damage sin does to both the sinner and the body of Christ, which public penance had amply addressed.

No consensus between confessionists and contritionists was achieved about the sacramental moment of remission and reconciliation. Underlying Peter's contritionist argument, however, is his conviction (distinctive among his Parisian colleagues) that penance is twofold, interior and exterior, allowing him to apply his theology of sacraments to penance. Exterior penance is the sacramental rite itself (sacramentum tantum), which involves expressed contrition (compunctio cordis), oral confession (confessio oris), and the work of satisfaction (satisfactio operis). Interior penance is the inner reality (res) or grace (gratia) of the sacrament, namely, contrition and remission. And that which at once signifies and effects (signat et facit) contrition and remission is the rite and its inner reality (reset sacramentum). (54)

Unlike the confessionists like Gratian, Peter was a staunch contritionist in holding that contrition was efficacious for forgiveness, sometimes long before confession and absolution. Colish observes:

Of all the masters on the contritionist side of the debate, the Lombard is the only one who is truly and wholly faithful to the logic of that position, to the point of being willing to regard confession and satisfaction as optional, to abridge the power of the keys in penance, and to exempt penitents, whose spiritual welfare comes first, for this is the reason why the sacrament was instituted, from having to subject themselves to the ministrations of indiscreet priests, encouraging them instead to seek the counsel they need wherever they may find it. (55)

Peter's contritionist position put him on the edge of orthodox consensus, but, unlike others sharing his view, he offered a well-reasoned and documented case for the position--just as Gratian did for the opposing, confessionist camp. (56)

The third dispute, intensified by the increasing clericalization of ecclesiastical life initiated by the reforms of Gregory VII (1073-1085), concerned priestly absolution and the binding and loosing power of the keys in Matthew's Gospel (Mt 16:18-19). For confessionists like Gratian, the question was settled: reconciliation took place through the absolution of the priestly keys at confession (confessio oris). For contritionists like Peter, the conclusion that reconciliation was the result of contrition (compunctio cordis) posed a serious problem, which Peter puts in the form of a question: "Yet if the sin is wholly forgiven by God through contrition, what is subsequently forgiven by the priest?" He answers that God, rather than giving the power of absolution to the church through its priests, bestowed "the power of binding and setting free, that is, of showing persons to have been bound and set free," adding the caution that God may not conform to the judgment of the church, which sometimes "judges on account of ignorance or deception." (57)

Fundamentally the power of the keys for Peter is declaratory. As he explained: priests bind when they assign satisfaction for sin, and, in that very act, show the penitent to have been forgiven; and they set free, when they remit satisfaction or admit an excommunicated penitent to communion. (58)

In the process of dealing with these disputes and applying his sacramental theology, Peter and his colleagues necessarily dealt with ancillary issues that penance raised--among them, the gravity of sins (moral and venial), the priest and the gift of discernment, selective confession, confession to lay people, confession in extremis, the return of sins pardoned, the seal of confession, general confession, purgatory, indiscreet and inappropriate penances, confession to God alone, and true satisfaction. All these attest to the variety and range of day-to-day issues that came up to be adjudicated; to the fact that private penance had become the norm and public penance, the exception; and to the thorough-going change in a sacrament that would shape people's belief, practice, and piety for centuries. Penance came to be the rite in which a sinful person could achieve reconciliation and gradual transformation through a redeeming Christ in the church.


If penance took the long road into the sevenfold sacramental world of the early Scholastics, the road marriage took was both longer and more circuitous. The difficulty was that both roads traversed the same complex Roman world (the saeculum), which, though thoroughly secular, as the designation saeculum suggests, belied what secular means today. Its inhabitants, however different their beliefs about the transcendental, held that a divine world intersected their world, whether it was "rose-pink" Venus urging Aeneas to Dido's Carthage (Aeneid, 11. 551-52), Yahweh calling from the burning bush to a terrified Moses (Exod 3:2), or a risen Jesus instructing two bemused disciples on the road to Emmaus (Lk 23:25-27).

Yet the Christian world was also the Roman world, bound together by Roman roads (many still used today), and under the jurisdiction of Roman law, custom, and legions. Marriage, although first and foremost a family event--and a sacred one at that--was clearly a civil matter under Roman matrimonial jurisdiction. The bed-rock principle? Consent, not cohabitation, makes a marriage (Consensus non concubitus facit matrimonium). (59) From that principle the following flowed: (60)

* Marriage could be contracted in absentia.

* No legal formulas were required; in absentia a letter sufficed.

* A husband who died before consummation left his wife a widow with her dowry.

* Consent meant the will to form a iustum matrimonium, i.e., the husband acknowledged this woman as his lawful wife, intended to show her the affection and respect due a wife (affectio maritalis), and she would share his status.

* Senatorial families could not marry freed women or women of the theater.

* Slaves could not marry because they had no "legal will of their own."

* In the absence of legal consent and failure for either spouse to render affectio maritalis meant that the union was not a lawful marriage, and the laws relating to legitimacy, use of dowry, the husband's authority, etc., were inapplicable.

The consent principle and these derivations ensured a valid marriage in that world whether for pagans, Jews, or Christians. There were, of course, "ways of getting married" according to pagan, Jewish, or Christian custom. For Christians of the West, for instance, a blessing that evoked the biblical imagery drawn from Jewish patterns, especially those found in the account of Adam and Eve in Eden and in the Book of Tobit used in the synagogue, replaced pagan nuptials. (61) Yet marriage remained a secular event that required no synagogal or ecclesiastical blessing for Jew or Christian. As Philip Reynolds has shown in his thoroughgoing study of marriage in the patristic and early medieval periods, there is no clearly Christian nuptial liturgy before the fourth century, and the early medieval church required neither a priestly blessing nor any other liturgical form for a valid marriage. (62) Western Christians who married according to the customs and laws of their secular world were considered validly married in the church. (63) Those customs and laws, however, were also influenced by Germanic and Frankish as well as Roman law, which itself was undergoing a revival at the University of Bologna under Irnerius and Peter's contemporary, Gratian. (64)

Over the first millennium or so, marriage gradually became both a civil and an ecclesiastical event rooted in the traditions of a specific people, of the church, of local law and custom, and of the couple, thus moving from the province of the family and clan to the jurisdiction of the church, with priests gradually assuming the responsibility that traditionally rested with the heads of families. As John Leonard has shown, "The new amalgamation of Roman church rites and Gallican/Anglo-Saxon domestic rites, with strong canonical influence produced a new form of marriage in facie ecclesiae: (65)

* priest meets couple at church doors to preside at and witness consent

* turns and leads the wedding party into the church for Mass and nuptial blessing

* blesses the bed chamber either before or after Mass

* blesses the bread and wine or wine alone after Mass (remembrance of Cana).

The early twelfth-century Scholastics, although they considered marriage one of the seven sacraments, sought to determine how marriage in their secular world fit into their sacramental world, was understood among the authorities who preceded them, and should be considered in their present. Their principal source about marriage was Augustine, whose authority they accepted. He held that the marriage bond (vinculum), instituted in Eden before the fall, offered three traditional goods or benefits (bona): mutual fidelity (fides), offspring (proles), and sacred sign (sacramentum). (66) By mutual fidelity he meant the commitment to have sex only with one's spouse, thereby properly relieving the "infirmity" of sexual desire (concupiscentia); by offspring, the having and raising of children for the sake of the friendly association (societas amicalis) of the human race; (67) and by sacred sign, marriage as the Christian embodiment of the mystical marriage between Christ and the church recorded in Ephesians 5:32 (also the biblical grounds, according to Augustine and his adherents, for the indissolubility of marriage). (68)

Sharp differences existed among the Parisian masters, however, about matters of both substance and procedure, some reflecting regional differences. The sharpest debate was between those who held that the sacrament was conferred (efficitur) by the marital intercourse of the couple (consummatio), and those who held that the sacrament was conferred by the mutual consent of the couple, a debate made all the more bitter by the prominence of the authorities cited by each side, often enough the same authorities.

In addition, both sides had to deal with telling objections. Among the consummationists, for instance, a serious problem proved to be how to distinguish marriage from concubinage, which was lawful in Roman jurisprudence and had been tolerated in the church for centuries. Augustine, a prominent example, had a fully lawful 15-year union with his beloved Una, a woman of lesser status, with whom he had a son, Adeodatus: a union that embodied the three goods of marriage. His devout mother, Monica, found herself quite comfortable with the union, at least until the "right woman" came along. (69) Although there was a tendency in the church to see concubinage and marriage in the same light, it was less than marriage--a form of fornication--yet tolerated. As Reynolds observes: "Concubinage survived in various forms into the high Middle Ages, when it provided a curious and semiofficial solution to the problem of clerical celibacy." (70)

In addition, a particularly delicate problem besetting the consummationists due to the religious sensibilities of the time was the marriage of Mary and Joseph, a matter of concern and debate at least since the fourth century: because there was no consummation of their union as husband and wife, how could there have been a valid marriage between them? (71) The Bolognese canonists, especially Gratian, held that marriage is a process that begins with the promise to marry in the future (betrothal/ matrimonium initiaturn) and is achieved by the actual agreement in the present signified by consummation (matrimonium ratum); the status of the couple in between was one of indeterminacy, looking toward completion and fulfillment. (72) Thus, while marriage in the Holy Family lacked normal fulfillment, the consummationists could cite Augustine, who held that it possessed and fulfilled the three "goods" of marriage: "Accordingly, every benefit of marriage was fulfilled in the parents of Christ: fidelity, progeny, and sacrament. We know that the Lord Jesus himself was their progeny, that there was fidelity, because there was no adultery, and that there was sacrament, because there was no divorce." (73)

Finally, there was a persistent practical problem for the consummationists: proving the non-consummation of the marriage for the purpose of a declaration of invalidity. Since it would have to be by judicial process, it could not be done apart from invading the personal privacy of the couple and without the testimony of witnesses, some of whom might be far from objective.

The consentists were primarily Parisian masters from the schools--Laonese, Abelardian, Porretan, and Victorine--with Hugh of St. Victor (d. 1142) offering the most solidly grounded defense of consent up to his time. (74) The consent that creates the marital bond is consent about the present given preferably before witnesses (the wedding in facie ecclesiae), as opposed to consent about the future given at betrothal or the consent signified by consummation. The marriage of Joseph and Mary was an integral sacrament, with none of the indeterminacy involved in the consummationist position, because consent made it a marriage. Further, Roman law and custom, together with papal and patristic authorities, had insisted for centuries that consent makes a marriage.

Nonetheless, difficult questions arose for the position, especially from Scripture. Granted that marriage was made in Eden explicitly for multiplying the human race, for instance, how could consent alone carry out the biblical mandate? Even more imponderable--at least since the time of Augustine--was the passage from the Letter to the Ephesians evoking Genesis: "'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church" (Eph 5:31-32). How could consent alone make a marriage, if marriage signifies and embodies the "one-flesh" union of Christ and the church?

The question prompted reflection on the nature of the marital bond. As a result, Hugh of St. Victor, for instance, argued that in addition to carnal bonding, the couple needs to bring to marriage a "spiritual, moral, and affective bonding" that embodies "the intimate union of God and the soul." (75) This prompted masters of the Porretan school to a position that bridged the divide between consummationists and consentists: marriage as a double sacrament, one (consent) conveying the intimate union of God and the soul; the second, marital intercourse, conveying the union of Christ and the church.

Peter explored all the issues, substantive and practical, faced in both positions. As a result, the Sentences reflects all the significant marital issues of his day, and because of the secularity of marriage, many of them, like validity, nullity, impediments, inheritance, consanguinity and affinity, social pressure and consent, and divorce, were deeply embedded in law, civil and canon, requiring not only an acute theological mind but also an acute "civilian" mind.

In marriage precisely as sacrament, however, Peter advanced the understanding of marriage in his day and for centuries to come. Unlike the other sacraments, matrimony was instituted by the Lord even before the Fall, "not as a remedy, but as an obligation" to increase and multiply the human race. (76) Submerged in Augustine's view of sexuality (as were his colleagues), Peter saw marriage as the postlapsarian remedy for the "disease of incontinence (infirmitas incontinentiae)." (77) Nonetheless, marriage is good (res bona), instituted in paradise and commended by Christ when he changed water into wine at Cana (Jn 2:2-10); indeed it is a sacred sign (sacrum signum). (78)

Consent is the heart of the matter for Peter: "The consent that forms a marriage is nothing other than that expressed through words, not about the future, but about the present.... 'I accept you as my husband, and I accept you as my wife,' this makes (facit) matrimony." (79) Consent means that "between them the conjugal bond (vinculum conjugale) remains while they are alive, and that mutually each shows the other what each is for the other, and only matrimony is embraced by this description of lawful and faithful couples." (80) Formally expressed consent in the present, then, whether clandestine, public, or liturgical, constitutes the rite itself (sacramentum tantum), the ministry of the couple. The inner reality (res) conveyed and effected (res et sacramentum) is "the union of Christ and the church," which Peter saw as twofold: "For just as there is a union between the two spouses because of unanimity of souls (secundum consensum animorum) and the uniting of bodies (permixtionern corporum), so the Church is joined (copulatur) to Christ by will and by nature (voluntate et nutura)." The reason is that the church "wills what he wills, and he has assumed his form [formam] from the nature of humanity (de natura hominis)." (81) Peter concluded, "The union of both [the couple and Christ and church] is symbolized in marriage: for the unanimity of the spouses signifies the spiritual union of Christ and the church, which takes place through love; in addition, their sexual union signifies that which takes place through conformity of nature." (82)

With these deft strokes Peter resolved two burning issues, whether a couple that does not consummate their marriage has a sacramental marriage, and whether Mary and Joseph were truly married. With respect to the couple, their unanimity of soul (consensus animarum) embodied in their mutual love (affectio maritalis) signified and conveyed the spiritual union of Christ and the church. With respect to Mary and Joseph, Peter cited Augustine that in them "the perfect marriage existed: perfect, indeed, not in its symbolism, but in its sanctity," (83) in their case a sanctity that symbolized a union with God that perfectly embodied the blessings of marriage first enumerated by Augustine: offspring (progenies), Jesus; unwavering fidelity (fides) to each other; and the sacred sign (sacramentum) in their continence. (84) Thus, for Peter the sacramental world that intersected his secular world of marriage signified and conveyed the twofold union between Christ and the church, one spiritual and one physical.

In his first two distinctions on marriage Peter developed his theology of the sacrament (Distinctions 26 and 27); the remaining fifteen (28-42) concern the down-on-earth complexities of that intersection: divorce, adulterous and multiple marriages, forced consent, abortion and contraception, fleshly delight and sin, differing marriage laws, slaves and matrimony, bodily defects, frigidity and divorce, consanguinity and affinity, desertion, religious vows, those lawfully qualified to marry. Indeed, there are over 70 topics with which he feels obliged to deal in his secular and sacramental twelfth-century world. That sacred event called matrimonium, originating at the beginning of human time and embodying the union of Christ and the church, by necessity is immeshed in judicial scrutiny during the early twelfth century (not to mention centuries pre- and post-); the two worlds, after all, intersected, permitting bride and groom to enter a union with Christ in the family of the church no matter the secular and ecclesiastical vines and thistles that could and often did entangle them.


Granted that people express in ritual what moves them most, then Peter Lombard's distinctions on sacraments in his Sentences open a fascinating highway into the cultural history of the medieval world of the early Scholastics. What appears to have moved the people of twelfth-century Europe most are those seven sacramenta in which people could encounter the redeeming and transforming ministry of Christ enacted in and through the church. The rites, especially penance and marriage, brought into sharp focus the points at which the divine world intersected the human world.

As a result, both worlds enter the history and culture of twelfth-century Paris recounted in the Sentences, a work studied again and again for three centuries and more. The Sentences enable the reader to enter the schools of the ancient city, attend the cursory and ordinary lectures in theology at the cathedral school of Notre Dame, dispute with Master Peter, acquire a sense of the day-to-day religious issues that troubled masters, students, and lay people alike, and, thus instructed, look to the present and ahead to the future, with Peter and his magisterial colleagues as guides. In the process the reader obtains a firsthand experience of what is meant by "living tradition" and its dynamics.

(1) R. W. Southern, "The Scholastic Metropolis of Northern Europe," in his Scholastic Humanism and the Unification of Europe, vol. 1 of 2, Foundations (Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell, 1995) 198-233. See also Philipp W. Rosemann, The Story of a Great Medieval Book: Peter Lombard's Sentences, Rethinking the Middle Ages 2 (Ontario: Broadview, 2007) 21-23, and 195-96 for current bibliography.

(2) For important accounts of Scholasticism and the rise of the universities and of the logica modernorum in the twelfth century, see: Marcia L. Colish, Medieval Foundations of the Western Intellectual Tradition: 4001400, Yale Intellectual History of the West (New Haven: Yale University, 1997) 160-72, 265-88; and Colish Peter Lombard, 2 vols. (New York: J. Brill, 1994) 1:33-224, for Peter's predecessors; Charles Homer Haskins, The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University, 1976), and his The Rise of Universities (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University, 1979) 1-26; Hastings Rashdall, The Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages, 3 vols., ed. F. M. Powicke and A. B. Emden (Oxford: Clarendon, 1936) 1:269-584; Richard E. Rubenstein, Aristotle's Children: How Christians, Muslims, and Jews Rediscoverd Ancient Wisdom and Illuminated the Dark Ages (Orlando: Harcourt, 2003) 11-22, 88-126.

(3) Colish, Medieval Foundations 266. For the change and tumult, especially as it located itself in the early days of the universities of Bologna and Paris, see Haskins's classic profile of the medieval professor and student, Rise of the Universities 27-93.

(4) For the definitive accounts of his life and work, see Prolegomena to Peter Lombard, Sententiae in IV libris distinctae, 3rd ed., 2 vols., Spicilegium Bonaventurianum 4 and 5, ed. Ignatius Brady, O.F.M. (Grottaferrata [Rome]: Editiones Collegii S. Bonaventurae ad Claras Aquas, 1971) 1:1-45 (hereafter, Proleg.). Although Peter's autograph codex has not survived, this third edition is based on 13 carefully selected manuscripts from the 19 surviving twelfth-century manuscripts of the Sententiae, each of which is evaluated and described in the Prolegomena, with four (A, M, O, and P) judged of the highest importance, and three (L, N, and X) considered principal sources. See also Colish, Peter Lombard 1:1-32.

(5) Proleg. 17 n. 4, 11. 197-200.

(6) Ibid. 43; see Colish, Peter Lombard 1:23; the date and year: July 20 or 21, 1160. The tomb and epitaph were destroyed during the French Revolution in 1796.

(7) Colish, ibid. 156; Proleg. 46. Colish (ibid. 46-93) discusses Peter's biblical work and that of his predecessors, including their status, codices, editions, history, and use. See also Rosemann, Story of a Great Medieval Book 14-20, for the bibliocentric character of Christian tradition and of Peter's Sentences.

(8) Proleg. 117-18. For book publication in that era, see Jacques le Goff, The Birth of Europe, trans. Janet Lloyd (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2005) 126-33, esp. 130: "In the twelfth century, the main type of scholarly publication was the florilegium. This was not simply a collection of quotations from the Bible, from the Church Fathers, and from ancient masters, for each quotation that appeared in it was accompanied by a commentary by a contemporary master. Gradually, a florilegium thus developed into a Scholastic summary. An intermediary stage that was essential to this development involved the production of another type of book, a collection of "sentence commentaries.'"

(9) Proleg. 117-18; Colish, Peter Lombard 1:77-90. For a detailed account of the glosses and commentaries on the Sentences contemporary with Peter, see Rosemann, Story of a Great Medieval Book 23-52; and Rosemann, Peter Lombard 42-53.

(10) Proleg. 144, but see James A. Weisheipl, Friar Thomas D'Aquino: His" Life, Thought, and Works (Washington: Catholic University of America, 1983) who gives the dates 1236-1238 for Alexander's filling the Franciscan Chair; Rosemann, Story of a Great Medieval Book 60452, who notes that it was not without controversy.

(11) See Weisheipl, Friar Thomas D'Aquino 53-80, and 358-59 for the Scriptum. For an account of the 13th-century commentaries, see Rosemann, Story of a Great Medieval Book 53-92, esp. 80-85, for Aquinas's failed attempt to replace the Sentences with the Summa theologiae; the Sentences remained the standard text for another 250 years.

(12) Harry J. McSorley, Luther: Right or Wrong? An Ecumenical-Theological Study of Luther's" Major Work, The Bondage of the Will (New York: Newman, 1969) 221-24; Rosemann, Story of a Great Medieval Book 93-183, esp. 171-83, where he discusses in detail Luther's glosses on the Sentences. He comments, "Luther undermined scholastic theology by taking its founder ]Peter Lombard] seriously" (171).

(13) For an accessible English translation, see The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, trans. H. J. Schroeder, O.P. (1941; Rockford, Ill.: Tan, 1978).

(14) See Proleg. 97-111; Colish, Peter Lombard 1:26: "Some thirty of his sermons have survived, twenty-six of which are printed among the sermons of Hildebert of Larardin in Migne's Patrologia latina 171, with the other four, discovered recently, edited and published elsewhere" (n. 34). On his sermons, see also Rosemann, Peter Lombard 49.

(15) Stanley A. Curtis, "Peter Lombard: A Pioneer in Educational Method," Miscellanea Lombardiana (Novara, Italy: Istituto Geografico de Agostini, 1956) 265-73.

(16) Colish, Peter Lombard 1:33.

(17) See ibid. and 33-90 for the century's theological enterprise; Rosemann (Story of a Great Medieval Book 25) observes that "prior to the rise of Scholasticism, the paradigmatic medieval style of reading had been contemplative and ruminative" in monasteries, books serving a religious goal, namely assimilating the reader, "through words, to the Word."

(18) E. A. Livingstone, ed., Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 3rd ed.

(Oxford: Oxford University, 1997) 851 52, s.v. Isidore, St.

(19) Since Peter and his Parisian colleagues did not know Greek, their access to the Eastern fathers was necessarily through Latin translations, which limited them considerably, and explains their focus on the Latins, particularly on Augustine.

(20) For the citations and the determination that follows, see Lib. IV, d. 35, c. 4, aa. 1-3, in Sententiae in IV libris distinctae, pars H, liber IV (hereafter, Sent. IV) 2:47172. Further citations from the text of the Sentences will be as follows: Sent. IV, d. (distinction), c. (chapter), a. (article), (page[s]). Unless otherwise indicated, all translations of the Sentences are mine.

(21) Ibid.

(22) See Livingstone, Oxford Dictionary 74; and Colish, Peter Lombard 1:42-44, where she argues that neither Anselm nor his followers created a systematic collection of sentences or educational structure along the lines of the later summae.

(23) Colish, Medieval Foundations 265-67. She notes that the organization of learning in the twelfth-century cathedral school involved not only the licensing of masters by bishops or their chancellors, and the recruitment and training of masters by cathedral chapters, but also the rise of independent masters, whose authority was based on nonepiscopal licences or on their own expertise (266). Eventually, the university would grant the license in the form of a degree, Licentia in Sacra Theologia (STL); see 274-82 for her treatment of twelfth-century logic and systematic theology, and Abelard's effort to bring philosophy to bear on theology (coining the term theologia) followed by a treatment of Hugh of St. Victor, who combined his Neoplatonic-tinged understanding of biblical revelation and the natural world accessible by reason.

(24) For discussion of Abelard and his followers see Colish, Peter Lombard 2:47-52.

(25) For what follows, see Colish, Peter Lornbard 2:52-90. She offers a detailed study of the theological enterprises of Gilbert of Poitiers and followers, Hugh of St. Victor, Roland of Bologna, Robert Pullen, and Robert of Melun, together with Peter.

(26) See Hugh of St. Victor, De sacramentis christianae fidei (PL 176:174-618), trans. Roy J. Defferari, Hugh of Saint Victor on the Sacraments of the Christian Faith (De sacramentis) (Cambridge, Mass.: The Medieval Academy of America, 1951). For Hugh on his sacramental doctrine, see also Colish, Peter Lombard 2:523-28.

(27) Peter Lombard, Sententiae, vol. 1, pt. 2, pp. 3-4. The translation is that of Frank Mantello, who provided me with the translation of the prologue and invaluable assistance in my study of late antique and medieval Latin; Philipp Rosemann provided me with much encouragement and practical editorial help in my translation of the first 14 distinctions on the sacraments.

(28) See above, n. 4. In the critical edition there referenced, vol. 1 contains Lib. 1 and H; vol. 2 contains Lib. 111 and IV.

(29) Distinctiones is best translated "distinctions." Peter divided his work into four books, with each book further divided into chapters, marking off units of meaning, though imperfectly. As Rosemann points out, Alexander of Hales "had the genius to bundle [clearly defined] thematic units into what he [Alexander] called distinctiones, 'distinctions'" (Story of a Great Medieval Book 62-63). In so doing Alexander made Sentences a much more effective reference work, as is evident from the table of contents for each of the four books, though they are printed in vol. 1, pt. 2, pp. 40-51 of the critical edition. The distinctions introduce another level of division between the general theme of the book and the chapters, allowing the reader to come quickly to the subject of specific interest. See Ignatius C. Brady, "The Rubrics of Peter Lombard's Sentences," Pier Lombardo 6 (1962) 5-25, his "The Distinctions of Lombard's Book of Sentences and Alexander of Hales," Franciscan Studies 25 (1965) 90-116.

(30) Colish, Peter Lombard 1:226-440, discusses the contents of the first three books; see also, Rosemann, Story of a Great Medieval Book 23-27.

(31) Colish, Peter Lombard 2:471-717, for detailed discussion of the contents of the fourth book.

(32) Pope Lucius III (1181-1185) especially with the Cathars and Paterenes in mind, empowered the bishops to make inquisition of heresy in their dioceses, handing over to secular authority those who refused to recant. Because the episcopal inquisitions proved ineffective, Pope Gregory IX in 1233 appointed full-time inquisitors made up primarily of Dominicans and Franciscans. The Inquisition was at the height of its power in Southern France by the mid-13th century. For a recent account, see Albert C. Shannon, The Medieval Inquisition (Washington: Augustinian College, 1983).

(33) Augustine, De civitate Dei 10.5 (CCL 47:277:25-26) and Peter Lombard, Sent. IV, d. 1, cc. 2-4, 232-34. The following two detailed studies consider the term sacramentum from Roman antiquity and early Christianity through the twelfth century: Damien Van Den Eynde, Les definations des sacraments pendant la premiere periode de la theologique scholastique (1050-1240) (Rome: Antonianum, 1950) 3-16; for the Carolingian period: Owen M. Phelan, "The Formation of Christian Europe: Baptism under the Carolingians" (Ph.D. diss., University of Notre Dame, 2005) treats sacramentum in Roman antiquity (12-17), in early Christianity through Augustine and Isidore of Seville (17-51), and in Carolingian Europe (2750), with extensive bibliography in the footnotes.

(34) See John M. Gallagher, Significando causant: A Study of Sacramental Efficacy (Fribourg: University, 1965). The sign as containing and causing at once was clarified in the West though the eucharistic controversy (Paschasius Radbertus through Berengarius)--on which, see Gary Macy, The Theologians in the Early Scholastic Period (New York: Oxford University, 1984) 35-53; Macy, The Banquet's Wisdom: A Short History of the Theologies of the Lord's" Supper (Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist, 1992) 68-81; and Joseph Martos, Doors to the Sacred: A Historical Introduction to Sacraments in the Catholic Church, rev. ed. (Ligouri, Mo.: Ligouri/Triumph, 2001) 50-56.

(35) Thus, see Hugh of St. Victor, De sacramentis 1, 9, 2 (PL 176:318b).

(36) Sent. IV, d. 1, c. 4, a. 2, 233; for Hugh, see De sacramentis 1.9.2 (PL 176:317d-318b). This causal relation between the rite (sacramentum tantum) and its inner reality or grace (res) received its conciliar definition at the Council of Florence (1439) in its Decree for the Armenians (Heinrich Denzinger and Adolf Schonmetzer, ed., Enchiridion symbolorum: Definitionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum [hereafter, DS], 32nd ed. [Barcelona: Herder, 1963] nos. 1311, 333: "For the sacraments of the Old law did not cause grace, but signified grace that would be given only through the passion of Christ: but our sacraments both contain grace (continent gratiam) and confer (ipsam ... conferunt) it upon those receiving the sacrament worthily." The decree also addresses each of the seven sacraments (DS 1314-28, 333-37).

(37) The Constantinian basilica of the Holy Sepulcher, consecrated shortly before this catechesis (ca. 350) was built on what was considered the tomb of the Savior; the rites of initiation were celebrated in situ, as were Cyril's catecheses on the rites.

(38) Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechesis mystagogica 2, ed. Johannes Quasten (Bonn: Florilegium patristicum 7, 1935) 80-87. See also, Thomas Finn, Early Christain Baptism and the Catechumenate: West and East Syria, Message of the Fathers of the Church 5 (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical, 1992) 48-49. In using the term "symbolically," Cyril meant a rite that reenacts what it signifies, for which see my, "Baptismal Death and Resurrection: A Study in Fourth-Century Eastern Baptismal Theology," Worship 43 (1969) 175-89; and for two of Cyril's mystagogical catecheses on baptism, see my Early Christian Baptism and the Catechumenate: West and East Syria 43-52.

(39) For background and discussion, see my From Death to Rebirth: Ritual and Conversion in Antiquity (New York: Paulist, 1997) 163-238.

(40) For an overview, see Paul Anciaux, La theologie sacrement de penitence au XIIe siecle (Louvain: E. Nauwelaerts, 1949) 164-231; for a detailed and documented history of penance, see James Dallen, The Reconciling Community: The Rite of Penance (New York: Pueblo, 1986); and for the history of the sacrament in light of the theological issue of justification, see Kenan Osborne, Reconciliation and Justification: The Sacrament and Its Theology (New York: Paulist, 1990).

(41) Innocent XI, Epist. 25 (to Decentius) (PL 20:551-561), trans. Gerald Ellard, in "How Fifth-Century Rome Administered Sacraments," Theological Studies 9 (1948) 5-11; see my Early Christian Baptism and the Catechumenate: Italy, North Africa, and Egypt (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical, 1992) 78-79. The elements of the rite (contrition, confession, and satisfaction) will remain when it is transformed into private penance.

(42) For a celebrated account of the "reaching out," see J. M. Wallace-Hadrill, The Barbarian West: The Early Middle Ages: A.D. 400-1000 (New York: Harper, 1962). Commenting on the baptismal rite of the renunciation of Satan and his pomps, for instance, the Council of Tours (813) identified what the monks encounter after baptism: "[The initiate] renounces, therefore, the devil and his works. For the works of the devil are understood to be the works of the flesh, which are homicide, fornication, adultery, drunkenness, and many other things similar to these" (Monumenta germaniae historica, Leges 3.2.1., 288-89, cited and translated in Phelan, "Formation of Christian Europe" 79).

(43) See Martos, Doors to the Sacred 279-97. In this connection Colish observes: "In the spread of Christianity to the Germanic and Celtic peoples during the early Middle Ages, private confession was introduced and penances remained lengthy and heavy.... The early twelfth century witnessed a shift in the way in which penance was understood and practiced" (Peter Lombard 2:583).

(44) Alcuin, Ad Pueros Sancti Martini 2-3, as translated in Michael S. Driscoll, "Ad Pueros Sancti Martini: A Critical Edition, English Translation, and Study of the Manuscript Transmission," Traditio 53 (1998) 48-55, at 51-52: see also Driscoll, "Penance in Transition: Popular Piety and Practice," Medieval Liturgy: A Book of Essays, ed. Lizette Larson-Miller (New York: Garland, 1997) 121-63.

(45) For the libri poenitentiales, related documents, and an introductory study, see Medieval Handbooks of Penance: A Translation of the Principal Libri Poenitentiales and Selections from Related Documents, trans. John T. McNeill and Helena M. Garner (New York: Octagon, 1979). See also Hugh Connolly, Irish Penitentials': And Their Significance for the Sacrament of Penance Today (Blackrock, Co.: Dublin: Four Courts, 1995).

(46) For the shift, see Colish, Peter Lombard 2:583-600: and Martos, Door to the Sacred 291-99.

(47) For what follows, see Colish, Peter Lombard 2:584-88; she documents her analysis with extensive sources.

(48) See Hugh of St. Victor, Summa sententiarum septem tractatibus distincta, tract 6, c. 12 (PL 176:149-150). Hugh treats penance in tract 6, cc. 10-14 (PL 175:146-154). Migne includes Summa sententiarum under Hugh's dogmatic works.

(49) Gratian, Decretum, pars 2, d. 2, c. 1-c. 20; d. 3, c. 1-d. 4. c. 24, cols. 1189-97, 1211-38. See Colish, Peter Lombard 2:585.

(50) Hebrews 10:1-18 concerns the sufficiency of Christ's death.

(51) Sent. IV, d. 14, cc. 4-5, aa. 1-3, 321-23.

(52) Sent. IV, d. 16, c. 1, a. 1,336.

(53) The elaboration of the doctrine of purgatory as a place where penances unfinished in this life could be completed is the result of the twelfth-century masters' theology of penance. Peter discusses purgation after death in Sent. IV, d. 21, cc. 1-3, 379-80. The classic formulation is that of Thomas Aquinas in his IV. Sent., d. 21, q. 1--his first publication, though a second edition, now lost, may have existed--on which see Weisheipl, Friar Thomas d'Aquino 358-59; see also Jacques Le Goff, La naissance du purgatroire (Paris: Gallimard, 1981; Engl. trans., 1984). For indulgences, there is no certain evidence before the eleventh century; in the twelfth it is fairly common; see Karl Rahner, "Remarks on the Theology of Indulgences," Theological Investigations, vol. 2 (Baltimore: Helicon, 1963) 175-201.

(54) Sent. IV, d. 22, c. 2, a. 5,389-90; see also d. 11, c. 2, a. 3,297; d. 8, c. 7, a. 2, 285, and Paul F. Palmer, "The Theology of Reset Sacramentum with Particular Emphasis on Its Application to Penance," Proceedings of the Catholic Theological Society of America 14 (1959) 120-41.

(55) Colish, Peter Lombard 2:608.

(56) Ibid.

(57) Sent. IV, d. 18, c. 5, a. 1-3, 359-60.

(58) Sent. IV, d. 18, c. 5, a. 5, 360.

(59) John K. Leonard, "Rites of Marriage in the Western Middle Ages," in Medieval Liturgy: A Book of Essays, ed. Lizette Larson-Miller (New York: Garland, 1997) 165-202, at 167.

(60) Ibid. 168; and for what follows, see 168-95.

(61) See Tobit 6:10-7:16; 13:1-17.

(62) See Philip Lyndon Reynolds, Marriage in the Western Church: The Christianization of Marriage during the Patristic and Early Medieval Periods (Boston: Brill Academic, 2001) and his extensive bibliography (420-27). Colish, Peter Lombard 2:628-98, treats marriage and the twelfth-century masters.

(63) Reynolds, Marriage in the Western Church ix-xx. What made the difference between East and West is that Byzantine Emperor Leo VI (866-912) ruled that the Eastern liturgy of marital blessing was necessary for validity.

(64) For marriage in the Frankish church, see ibid. 386-412.

(65) Leonard, "Rites of Marriage in the Western Middle Ages" 189-90.

(66) Augustine, De nuptiis et concupiscentia 1.11.12 (PL 44:420; CSEL 42:224s). See David Hunter, "Marriage," in Augustine through the Ages: An Encyclopedia, ed. Allan D. Fitzgerald (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1999) 535-37; and Reynolds, Marriage in the Western Church 280-330 on Augustine and the sacramentality of marriage. In the distinctions on marriage Peter cites Augustine 55 times, with Ambrose and Jerome following a distant second and third respectively; De bono conjugale and De nuptiis are Peter's preferred Augustinian sources on marriage.

(67) Augustine's thought on marriage was shaped by the biblical history of salvation and its intersection with the history of the world. Fully aware of its complex details, especially that in the patriarchal centuries the primary purpose of marriage was to have and raise children for the survival and increase of humankind, Augustine approved the multiple marriages among the patriarchs and divorce among the people. Nonetheless in his day, rather for survival and increase, the good of marriage was societas arnicalis, the friendly association that would permit the earthly and heavenly cities to intersect. Poligamy and divorce were clearly out of the question.

(68) For discussion of Ephesians 5:32, see Reynolds, Marriage in the Western Church 289-93.

(69) See James O'Donnell, Augustine: A New Biography (New York: Harper Collins, 2005) 39; he cites Garry Wills's "whimsically twisted line of the Confessions to give her a name--Una." She was, for Augustine, "The One."

(70) Reynolds, Marriage in the Western Church 315. In concubinage, offspring were considered illegitimate, and illegitimate children could not inherit, solving a serious problem about church property.

(71) See ibid., esp. 254-57, 339-45; and Colish, Peter Lombard 2:633-48.

(72) Reynolds, Marriage in the Western Church 315; for Gratian and the Bologna canonists see above, p. 577 and nn. 63-64.

(73) Augustine, De nup. et concup. 1.13 (CSEL 42:225), cited in Reynolds, Marriage in the Western Church 344.

(74) For discussion of the Parisian masters convinced of the principle of consent, see Colish, Peter Lombard 2:638-51.

(75) Hugh of St. Victor, De sacramentis Christianae fidei, libr. II., pars 11, cc. 4-9 (PL 176:483a-496d). Colish observes that Hugh's work on the virginity of Mary (Epistola de beatae Mariae virginitate) "offers a richer and more positive assessment and account of what marriage means, or should mean, to those persons who commit themselves to this way of life" (Peter Lombard 2:645).

(76) Sent. IV, d. 26, c. 1, a. 1,416.

(77) Sent. IV, d. 26, c. 5, aa. 1-2, 419.

(78) Ibid.

(79) Sent. IV, d. 27, c. 3, 422-23.

(80) Sent. IV, d. 27, c. 2, 422.

(81) Sent. IV, d. 26, c. 6, 420.

(82) Ibid.

(83) Augustine, De nuptiis 1.11.12 (PL 44:420s; CSEL 42:224s).

(84) Sent. IV, d. 30, c. 2, aa. 1-4, 439-41.

THOMAS M. FINN holds a S.T.D. in patristics from the Catholic University of America and is now Chancellor Professor of Religion (Emeritus) at The College of William and Mary in Virginia. His primary interest is liturgy in the patristic period with a special competence in the topic of conversion and the rites of initiation in antiquity. He has recently published Quodvultdeus of Carthage, The Creedal Homilies: A Translation and Commentary in Newman Press's Ancient Christian Writers series (2004). Completed and under review is The Sacramental World in the Fourth Book of the Sentences of Peter Lombard: A Translation and Commentary, and in process is a monograph entitled Peter Lombard and the Sacraments" in Twelfth-Century Europe.
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Author:Finn, Thomas M.
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Date:Sep 1, 2008
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