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Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Toronto, 2008.
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 69-06, Section: A, page: .
This thesis is a study of the archdeacon in medieval Western Europe. The archdeacon was the bishop's chief administrative official who acted as his representative in the oversight of clergy and churches throughout the diocese. They first appear in the fourth century, are given greater jurisdiction in the eighth and ninth, and become the juridical face of the church in the twelfth. After an introductory survey of the early history of the archdeacon, the thesis is divided into two parts according to theory and practice. Part I is a study of the treatment of archdeacons in sources of canon (church) law from the fourth through the thirteenth centuries. The sources are treated chronologically and geographically, as responses to religious conditions in particular times and places. Chapter 1 draws on early church councils of Spain and Gaul, the sprawling legal collections of the Carolingian era, and the reformed collections and forgeries of the tenth and eleventh centuries; Chapter 2 is a close analysis of archdeacons in the most important canonical collection, Gratian's Decretum of ca. 1140, and of archdeacons in works commenting on the Decretum in the later twelfth and early thirteenth centuries.In Part II, I provide a case study of the archdeacons in the diocese of Lincoln, England, and of their lives, careers, and duties, in light of the legal changes discussed in Part I. I show how the diocese's eight archdeacons changed between the 11th and 13th centuries, as much in reaction to changes in universal canon law as to local changes in the life and government of central England. After a review of the early history of archdeacons in England in the Anglo-Saxon era and the start of the Anglo-Norman period, up through the reign of Henry I, I look specifically at the archdeacons of Lincoln and the development and treatment of the diocese's eight archdeaconries. It is only through juxtaposition of universal studies of archdeacons in legal sources with localized studies of archdeacons in particular cities and dioceses that we will further our understanding of this important church official. The number of archdeacons in a diocese, the duties expected of them and the understanding of their legal authority all varied dramatically according to time and location.