alta scuola seminar – medieval penitentials and the law, theology, and practice of penance

June 9, h 9 – 6 pm | June 10, h 9 – 1 pm


Atria Larson (St Louis University)
Medieval Penitentials and the Law, Theology, and Practice of Penance



The seminar, Medieval Penitentials and the Law, Theology, and Practice of Penance, will introduce participants to the rich and varied source material in the medieval period related to penance. An overview of substantial changes in the historiography of the history of late antique and medieval penance over the past several decades will be combined with investigation of original source material extant in manuscripts and in printed editions. The seminar will emphasize the importance of an interdisciplinary approach to the history of penance that includes considerations of literary genre, theology, law, historical change, and ritual practice.


Atria A. Larson, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Medieval Christianity in the Department of Theological Studies at Saint Louis University (Missouri, USA). Her research investigates the intellectual, religious, and legal history of the High Middle Ages, with a special focus on Gratian’s Decretum, theology and biblical exegesis, pastoral care, and penance. Her books include Master of Penance: Gratian and the Development of Penitential Thought and Law in the 12th Century (Washington DC, 2014) and Gratian’s Tractatus de penitentia: A New Latin Edition with English Translation (Washington DC, 2016).

Introductory Bibliography

Costanzo, Alessandra. Il Trattato De vera et falsa poenitentia: Verso una nuova confessione. Guida alla lettura, testo e traduzione, Studia Anselmiana 154, Sacramentum 14. Roma: Pontificio Ateneo Sant’Anselmo, 2011. With Pseudo-Augostino. Sulla vera e falsa penitenza: Introduzione, testo e traduzione. Edited by Alessandra Costanzo. Sussidi Patristici 16. Rome: Istituto Patristico “Augustinianum,” 2011.

Grossi, Paolo. “Somme penitenziali, diritto canonico, diritto comune.” In Annali della Facoltà giuridica. Università di Macerata 1 (1966): 94-134. Repr. in idem. Scritti canonistici. Edited by C. Fantappiè, Per la storia del pensiero giuridico moderno 100. Milano: Giuffrè, 2013. 115-53.

Larson, Atria A. “Papal Councils and the Development of Lay Penance in the Long Twelfth Century.” Cristianesimo nella storia 39 (2018): 323-69.

Meens, Rob. Penance in Medieval Europe, 600-1200, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

The participation in the seminars is open to the members of the Foundation as well as to scholars and academics who wish to follow them in their entirety, preparing through a series of lectures given in time to the participants: to be admitted is necessary to send an email to Any changes of time or data can be found on the site