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Protestants almost never called their ecclesiastical norms ‘canons.’ When Protestant jurists or theologians wrote ‘canon law’ (Ius canonicum) in their works, it was clear to their readers that they meant Roman canon law. Surprisingly, Protestant jurists often cited Roman canon law and its jurisprudence long after Martin Luther burned books of Roman canon law at the Elster gate in Wittenberg. These jurists also continued to teach courses at the universities that treated the Ius canonicum. Consequently, an essay on Protestant canon law must confront the question: how much Roman canon law and the jurisprudence of the medieval Ius commune remained embedded in the Reformers’ legislation and jurisprudence and how much was rejected? Until relatively recently scholars answered that question largely according to their confessional affiliations.

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