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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Isidore Mercator

(or Peccator), the supposed ( name of a compiler who, towards the middle of the 9th century, published the famous collection of canons known as the Pseudo-Isidorian. (See CANONS); (See DECRETALS). It is pretty generally conceded that this writer lived in the dominions of Charles the Bald, but his real name is a matter of doubt. As for his collection, it is evidently based on that of Isidore of Seville, numerous copies of which. were at the time circulating in France; but it contains besides a vast number of apocryphal additions. Some of these pieces had already been in circulation for years, and they were not all made up by the Pseudo-Isidore. The collection of capitularies of Benedict Levita, a deacon of Mayence (who has by some been considered as the author of the Pseudo-Isidorian collection), which was written about 840, contains already numerous extracts of the fictitious documents of the work of Mercator. They circulated at first only in Southern France. They remained unknown in Spain until the 16th century, and in Germany and Italy but few copies of them are to be found. They are compiled from the histories of Rufinus and Cassiodorus, the Liber Pontificalis, the works of the fathers, decisions of the councils, regular decretals, the Bible (which, according to Richter, he quotes from the Vulgate, revised by Rhabanus Maurus), and, finally, the Roman law, of which he possessed a compendium in the Visigoth language. These two latter circumstances go far to prove that the writer must have been either a native, or at least, at the time, a resident of France. Mavence has sometimes been considered as the place where the pseudo-decretals were written, and Riculf or Otgar, archbishops of that city, or even Benedict Levita, above alluded to, as their author; but this seems unlikely, the more since Rhabanus Maurus, who succeeded Otgar in 847, appears entirely unacquainted with their existence. It must have been written about the middle of the 9th century, for it contains the decrees of the council held at Paris in 829, shows a knowledge of Rhabanus Maurus's work against the chor-bishops written in 847-849, and was first made public at the Synod of Chiersy in 857. The history of this collection has never been fully traced out; much may perhaps be done for it by a careful comparison of the numerous MS. copies of it which are still extant. Among these copies, one of the most important is the Codex Vaticanus, No. 630, written in 858- 867. It is thought that the Capitula Angilrami, another apocryphal document of canon law, must also be considered as the work of the so- called Isidore Mercator. See, besides the works already referred to under DECRETALS (See DECRETALS), Centuriatores, Ecclesiastica historia, vol. 6, cap. 7, and vol. 3, cap. 7; Blondel, Pseudo-Isidorus et Turrianus vapulantes; Van Espen, De Collectione Isidori, Opera, vol. 3; Zaccaria, Antifebronio, vol. 1, diss. 3; Spittler, Gesch. des canonischen Rechts, p. 243; Kunstmann, Fragmente ü ber Pseudo-Isidor (Neue Sion, 1855); Gfrorer, Untersuchung. ü ber Alter. Ursprung und Zweck d. Dekretalen d. falschen Isidorus (Friburg, 1848); Same, Gesch. d. Carolinger, 1, 71; Rosshirt, Zu den Kirchenrechtlichen Quellen u. z. den Pseudo-lsidorischen Decretalen (Heidelberg, 1849); Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Gé neralé, 16, 71; Mlilman. Latin Christianity, 2, 370 sq.; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 12, 337; Hefele, in Wetzer und Welte, Kirchen-Lex. 8. 859. (J. H. W.)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Isidore Mercator'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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