Despite the long reach of classical can law - across Europe, well into modern times, and into such secular subjects as theft, wills, and the sale of goods - its size and complexity have kept many historians from exploring it in their work. R. H. Helmholz illuminates the moral, social, political, and religious values in can law as it developed through the seventeenth century and reveals the attitudes and formal techniques of the authors, practitioners, and interpreters of can law. Helmholz discusses the Corpus iuris canici, texts which form the foundation of can law, and the sources the Corpus draws on, including the Bible and Roman law. He then considers fourteen major areas affected by the laws such as the governance of the Church (in particular the law of election of bishops), the sacraments (baptism), and legal sanctions (the law of excommunication). The Spirit of Classical Can Law provides scholars an ideal entree into this foundational area of the law.
R. H. Helmholz is the Ruth Wyatt Rosenson Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago. He is the author of numerous books including Roman Canon Law in Reformation England and The Canon Law and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction from 597 to the 1640s.