A good example of this myopic view appears in Harold J. Bermans influential Law and Revolution.41 Echoing the consensus against Sohm,42 Berman proclaimed the introduction of scholastic jurisprudence in the twelfth century a revolutionary moment in the history of western thought, indeed the prototype of Western Science.43 In the course of the twelfth century, natural law triumphed over positive law and custom; the relativity of legal rules became established; legal reasoning and process began to assume forms recognizable to modern audiences.44 Reviews of Bermans work have noted errors in fact and over-reliance on classic scholarly studies without reference to more recent works.45 Some have, anticipating the thesis of this paper, questioned the utility of posing the construct of revolution in the first place.46
Most striking is how both Berman and his readers have agreed on the twelfth century as a moment of legal revolution. Their confidence in this proclamation of the century as a definitive breaking point with earlier legal tradition is no less certain than Sohms. To Berman and his supporters, the rediscovery of the Digest in the late eleventh century led inexorably to the scholastic revolution of law--both canon and civil--in the schools.47 That important changes did occur in the legal culture of the Church between 1100 and 1200 is undeniable; what Berman overlooked (like Sohm) was the continuity of older legal culture. Instead of making a difference in the twelfth century--a difference based on the assumption that law now resided only in the schools with their dialectically trained teachers and lawyers, we should discern a distinction: the monasteries, including the new religious orders, were able to benefit from both Gratian and his predecessors. This monastic culture of canon law, overlooked by those searching for turning points and revolutions deserves closer examination.