Decretists one of the two parties into which the students of canon law in the 12th century were divided in consequence of the general recognition at that period of the supreme authority of the pope. The name is taken from the title of a work, Decretum Gratiani, which formed the basis of their studies in ecclesiastical law. Neander says, "The zeal with which the study of civil and ecclesiastical law was pursued had, however, this injurious effect, that the clergy were thereby drawn away from the study of the Bible, and from the higher, directly theological, interest, and their whole life devoted solely to these pursuits." The opposite party were called Legists. See Neander, Hist. of the Church, 4:203 sq.

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