Collectio 91 capitulorum

A small, eleventh-century manuscript housed in the municipal library of Vesoul (Franche-Comté) contains a ninth-century combination of practical, religious texts, including a work introduced as Institutio canonum, now known as the Collectio 91 capitulorum (‘Collection in 91 chapters’). This ‘unstructured collection of canonical materials’,⁠1 divided into 91 numbered statements without rubrics, is a witness to the reforming spirit of the Carolingian age, according to Paul Fournier. The first to describe the collection in some detail, Fournier dated the collection sometime to the  first two decades of the ninth century and located its composition somewhere in Gaul (see below). Despite his assertion that the collection was of primary importance and deserved the attention of historians,⁠2 the Collectio 91 has not enjoyed much scholarly interest in the century since his article.

A transcription of the text from its sole manuscript witness can be found here.


1 Kéry, Lotte, Canonical collections of the early Middle Ages (ca. 400-1140): a bibliographical guide to the manuscripts and literature, History of Medieval Canon Law (Washington, DC, 1999), p. 165

2 Although Fournier admitted that the entire manuscript would be of interest for the history of religious instruction in the Carolingian period, his prime interest lay in the information it could provide about the composition of some of the False Capitularies by Benedictus Levita, and the enigmatic work known as the Statuta Bonifatii (80); see P. Fournier, ‘Notices sur trois collections canoniques inédites de l’époque carolingienne’, Revue des sciences religieuses 6 [1926] S. 79-92, at 79-80.

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