Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Medieval Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Otto Gründler

Second Advisor

Dr. Rozanne Elder

Third Advisor

Dr. James Brundage

Fourth Advisor

Dr. T.C. Graham

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


This thesis explores the marital decretals in Gratian's Decretum and examines his influence on the 12th and 13th centuries. This influence is illustrated in Lombard's Sentences, Book IV.

Chapter I introduces the reader to Gratian, his work, and relevant terms. Chapter II presents Canons 32.2.6-7. Grounded in Augustine's view of the relations between marriage, contraception, and abortion, these canons open a window onto the debate during Gratian's period. Following Augustine, he explains how interfering with the production of offspring denies the primary purpose of marriage, procreation.

Chapter III analyzes canons 32.2.8-10. These examine whether or not abortion ought to be considered murder. Drawing on Exodus 21:22, Gratian develops the view that those who procure an abortion ought not to be held as murders if the soul has not yet been infused into the body. Chapter IV investigates how Gratian's work influenced theology as echoed in Lombard's Book of Sentences, Book IV. Chapter V concludes with a comparison of Gratian’s and Lombard’s views on the subject.

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