The website is part of the project ‘The Social Life of Early Medieval Normative Texts’ (SOLEMNE). It studies the canonical collections of early medieval western Europe as sources for medieval society. It subscribes to the statement that canon law is a genre that intersects ‘with every aspect of medieval life and society’*Kriston R. Rennie, Medieval canon law (Past imperfect, Leeds, UK, 2018). and recognises that the dynamic process of selecting and organising authoritative statements into certain combinations reflects the medieval compilers’ ambition to formulate their thoughts on social norms for a specific audience and a particular context.

Canonical ideas were sometimes articulated in rephrased or strategically cropped authoritative statements, but more often the creative process was expressed in the selection and deliberate combination of canones. In an effort to make sense of society—with the aid of revered authorities—medieval literati engaged in the compilation of canonical material in new arrangements, with the authoritative statements functioning as the composite elements in new textual contexts. Thoughts on social life and norms were not so much expressed in individual decrees (or ‘canons’), but rather in smaller or larger clusters of decrees formed by judiciously made combinations of decrees in a particular arrangement. SOLEMNE studies the spread and reception of these canonical combinations throughout the vast corpus of collection of canon law, as a window into medieval thoughts on social norms.

The general aim of SOLEMNE is to chart and contextualise the spread of social norms as articulated in specific combinations of canons in a bottom-up approach starting from the vast corpus of manuscript witnesses of canonical compendia in every shape and form. It follows from the conviction that social and cultural norms are expressed not only in the moment that the canons are formulated but also by a continuous recontextualization in canonical collections, dossiers and florilegia.

SOLEMNE is funded by a Consolidator Grant (nr. 101087979) of the European Research Council as a five-year project and is conducted at the Radboud Institute for Culture & History (RICH) at the Faculty of Arts, Radboud University (Nijmegen). It is headed by Sven Meeder, associate professor of medieval history.

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    Kriston R. Rennie, Medieval canon law (Past imperfect, Leeds, UK, 2018).