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In the history of
canon law Canon law (from grc, κανών, , a 'straight measuring rod, ruler A ruler, sometimes called a rule or line gauge, is a device used in geometry and technical drawing, as well as the engineering and construction industries, to measure dis ...
, a decretist was a student and interpreter of the ''
Decretum Gratiani The ''Decretum Gratiani'', also known as the ''Concordia discordantium canonum'' or ''Concordantia discordantium canonum'' or simply as the ''Decretum'', is a collection of Canon law (Catholic Church), canon law compiled and written in the 12th ...
''. Like
Gratian Gratian (; la, Flavius Gratianus; 18 April 359 – 25 August 383) was Roman emperor, emperor of the Western Roman Empire, western part of the Roman Empire from 367 to 383. The eldest son of Valentinian I, Gratian accompanied his father on severa ...

Gratian
, the decretists sought to provide "a harmony of discordant canons" (''concordia discordantium canonum''), and they worked towards this through glosses (''glossae'') and summaries (''summae'') on Gratian.Rhidian Jones, ''The Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England: A Handbook'' (T&T Clark, 2000), 45–46. They are contrasted with the
decretalists In the history of canon law Canon law (from grc, κανών, , a 'straight measuring rod, ruler') is a set of ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical jurisdiction, ecclesiastical authority (Church leadership), for the government of a Chr ...
, whose work primarily focused on papal
decretals Decretals ( la, litterae decretales) are letters of a pope that formulate decisions in canon law (Catholic Church), ecclesiastical law of the Catholic Church.McGurk. ''Dictionary of Medieval Terms''. p. 10 They are generally given in answer to co ...
. Early decretists of the Italian school include
PaucapaleaPaucapalea was a canon lawyer Canon law (from grc, κανών, , a 'straight measuring rod, ruler') is a set of ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical jurisdiction, ecclesiastical authority (Church leadership), for the government of a Ch ...
, a pupil of Gratian's; Rufinus, who wrote the ''Summa Decretorum''; and
Huguccio Huguccio (died 1210) was an Italian canon lawyer Canon law (from grc, κανών, , a 'straight measuring rod, ruler') is a set of ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical jurisdiction, ecclesiastical authority (Church leadership), for t ...
, who wrote the ''Summa super Decreta'', the most extensive decretist work. There was also a French school of decretists starting with
Stephen of Tournai Stephen of Tournai, (18 March 1128 - 11 September 1203), was a Canon regular of Sainte-Geneviève (Paris), and Roman Catholic Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century ...
.Weigand, Rudolf. "The Transmontane Decretists." In ''The History of Medieval Canon Law in the Classical period,1140-1234: From Gratian to the Decretals of Pope GregoryIX'', edited by Wilfried Hartmann and Kenneth Pennington, 174–210. History of Medieval Canon Law. Washington, D.C: Catholic University of America Press, 2008.


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{{Reflist Medieval law Canon law history Canon law jurists Canon law codifications