(C8) Procedures for Enforcing Secular and Church Law in Territories Ruled by Members of the Clergy

In contrast to modern law, pre-modern law was characterised by a variety that is almost inconceivable today. Conventional habits existed in combination with the great tradition of scholarly Roman canonical law as well as with thousands and thousands of public ordinances released by early modern sovereigns. In terms of the matter of the law, there was a blurring of law and morality, politics and religion. For enforcing this variety there arose numerous, at times conflicting, jurisdictions. Their respective competencies and functions are to a large extent unknown.

The project poses the question of to what degree the various particulate courts can be differentiated from each other in terms of their composition, jurisdiction and rules of procedure. In particular the division between churchly and secular justice – which had previously been drawn far too strictly – begins to crumble (Wetzstein 2006). It turns out, for example, that in territories ruled by a member of the clergy, in their position as princes bishops issued worldly laws that in turn laid down rules for matters of church jurisdiction. The investigation concentrates on the example of the constitution of the law courts and procedural law in the Diocese of Paderborn. The contrast between Catholic sovereigns and Protestant estates and cities, the conversion of a prince bishop to Protestantism, the planned conversion of the diocese into a secular territory by one of his successors, and finally the re-Catholicisation offer an ideal historical-constitutional background for this purpose. The research into early modern jurisdiction will provide information about pre-modern justice’s dependence upon or autonomy from political and religious upheavals. The assessment of extant territorial sources shall be supplemented by an analysis of files from the Imperial Chamber Courts in conflicts of jurisdiction and courts’ refusal of jurisdiction, which illuminate the particular problem from the perspective of the empire and at times deliver a supreme court decision.