Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals

Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals


a collection of church documents (decrees and epistles of popes, resolutions of ecumenical councils, etc.), mainly counterfeited, which appeared in the middle of the ninth century in the Carolingian Empire to justify the theocratic claims of the popes.

The compiler of the Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals hid under the pen name of Isidore Mercator. In the theological literature the compilation of the Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals was ascribed to Bishop Isidore of Seville (sixth to seventh centuries). The documents included in the collection maintained the supreme authority of the pope in the universal church and his independence from secular authorities and supported the idea of the infallibility of the pope. The Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals were cited as a basis for canonical law and were widely used by the papacy in the struggle for supremacy over the Western European secular sovereigns. The falseness of the Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals was proved by Protestant scientists (the Magdeburg centuriators) as early as the 16th century and was irrefutably established in the 17th century.


“Isidorus Mercator: Collectio decretalium.” In Patrologiae cursus completes: Series Latina, vol. 130. Edited by J. P. Migne. Paris, 1880.
References in periodicals archive ?
Two years after the council Dollinger published Fables Respecting the Popes in the Middle Ages (1872), where he showed how leading clergy had been misled by the Donation of Constantine, the Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals, and other forgeries to make unhistorical and untrue claims for the papacy.
From the ninth century he chose Nomokanon in Fourteen Titles in the East and the Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals in the West: witnesses of existing unity and diverging tendencies.
Using as her sample Anselm's editorial treatment of the pseudo-Isidorian Decretals and texts from the Collection in 74 Titles, especially in books 1-3 of Anselm's collection, Cushing presents a convincing case overall for viewing Anselm not as passive compiler and inert conduit, but as an interventive, even polemical editor of at least some of his canonical sources.
The scale of the project may be grasped from just the Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals.

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