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1. Main References:
Baldwin, John W. The Scholastic Culture of the Middle Ages, 1000-1300. Lexington: Heath, 1971.
Brooke, Rosalind B. The Image of St. Francis: Responses to Sainthood in the Thirteenth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 2006.
Englebert, Omer. Saint Francis of Assisi: a Biography. Ann Arbor: Servant Books, 1979.
Grundmann, Herbert. Religious Movements in the Middle Ages: the Historical Links between Heresy, the Mendicant Orders, and the Women’s Religious Movement in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Century, with the Historical Foundations of German Mysticism. Nortr Dame, Ind.: U. of Notre Dame Press, 1995.
3. Roest, Bert. A History of Franciscan Education (c. 1210-1517). Leiden: Brill, 2000.
Short, William J. Poverty and Joy: the Franciscan Tradition. New York: Orbis Books, 1999.
Talbot, J.M. The Lessons of St. Francis: How to Bring Simplicity and Spirituality into Your Daily Life. New York: Dutton, 1997.
Tugwell, Simon, ed. Early Dominicans: Selected Writings. New York: Paulist Press, 1982.
Ugolino, di Monte Santa Maria. The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi. New York: Vintage Books, 1998.
4. I. The Scholastic/Monastic Culture in 12th century Europe
II. The Mendicant Movement -- The Dominicans and the Franciscans
It was said that medieval scholasticism was a kind of philosophy for medieval Europe.
Characteristics: (1) It was a kind of religious philosophy, its essence was theology, its theories were about Christian doctrines, and its targets were on Christianity and theology; (2) The Holy Bible and Christian doctrines were its absolute sources, theses, and themes, for instance, Thomas Aquinas on The Existence of God -- he based his arguments on the Bible and its footnotes, etc., so it provided the theoretical foundation for medieval Christianity and theology, strengthening medieval Christian faith; (3) its methodology -- (A) quoting and citing the Holy Bible; and (B) analyzing with arguments, replies, and refutations, etc., such as those by Thomas Aquinas.
6. From 8th to 15th centuries Europe, monastery = focus of learning (theology and philosophy.
3 Schools/Main Streams:
1. 5th century onward, St. Augustine (Plato) -- traditional theology by faith (contemplation) -- orthodox [main stream]
7. 2. 12th to 13th centuries, the philosophy of Aristotle, especially his scientific thoughts, returned from the Middle East (because of the Crusades) -- by observation and experiments -- became a new kind of Christian philosophy, but it had been a kind of heresy or side stream until Thomas Aquinas who tried to merge faith and reason
3. 14th century, mysticism, a kind of religious philosophy became popular, but it was considered a kind of heresy, and was trialed in the Inquisition (and heretics were to be burned at stakes.
8. Scholasticism added notes and explanation to Christian faith and doctrines, thus, it was said to be serving the Christian Church as its arguments and theories were protecting and defending the principles of the Church (even though it was using scientific and rational methods.
9. II. Mendicantism
Mendicants = beggars
Mendicare = to beg
Vowed absolute poverty in voluntary imitation of the poverty and humility of Christ and the Apostles [opposite to the medieval Church, which had a lot of wealth (because of donation, etc.), and it became corrupted.
10. Therefore, 2 religious ordered (A) the Dominicans; and (B) the Franciscans:
Devoted to a life of poverty, preaching and doing charitable deeds;
Rejecting wealth, luxury, corruption;
Dedicated themselves to religious works
11. Meanwhile, there were heretics (mysticism) rebelling against the Christian Church (orthodoxy, main stream); and the Papacy used Inquisition to put them on trial and then burnt them at stake, which caused grievances.
Now, with the Dominicans and the Franciscans, they became more effective tools to deal with the heretics (or opposing forces).
And these Dominicans and Franciscans were mendicants, thus, starting a mendicant movement.
12. The Dominicans
St. Dominic (1170-1221): well-educated Spaniard, mid-30s to Rome, met Pope Innocent III, asking to start a religious order for preaching
1205-1215: St. Dominic won himself fame
1215 The Dominicans became the Order of Friars (brothers) preachers.
13. 1221 St. Dominic died. (There were 500 friars and 60 priories organized in 8 provinces; especially attractive to those who could not be satisfied with the enclosed life of earlier monasticism).
The Dominicans -- traveling and preaching
Strictness of the discipline
Albertus Magnus (1206-1280)
Thomas Aquinas (1226-1274)
Concerned with education and knowledge
14. St. Francis (1182--1226): son of a wealthy cloth merchant of the Italian town of Assisi, a warm, appealing man; youth: generous, high-spirited, and popular; soon became the leader of a boisterous but harmless teenage gang; then in his 20s, sick of fever, underwent a profound religious conversion (dramatic)[cf. Muhammad, Tai Ping leaders, etc.]
15. Then, St. Francis devoted himself to solitude, (as a hermit), prayer, and service to the poor.
On his pilgrim to Rome, he exchanged clothes with beggars, and begging with beggars.
When St. Francis returned to Assisi, he spent his time to the service for the lepers and hospitals; thus, his bourgeois father disinherited him.
1209 St. Francis started preaching
1220 Pope Innocent III saw the potential of St. Francis, confirmed his religious mission, thus, expanding.
16. The Franciscans, instead of living in a monastery, they worked and preached in the outside world.
1204 St. Francis died. (There were 1000 friars, active in France, Holy Roman Empire, England, Spain, and Hungary)
St. Francis preached the imitation of Christ: poverty, humility, working & serving, and preaching: (I strictly command all the brothers never to receive coin or money either directly or through an intermediary).
17. According to The Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity (Edited by John McManners, Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 1992.), Francis, ……A charismatic personality of tremendous charm, he devoted himself to a life of complete poverty and alternated his ministry between the crowded cities and his beloved hermitages……
18. The Dominicans and Franciscans were much in tune with the thirteenth century than their older monastic brethren, for the [Dominican and Franciscan] friars, as the newer groups were called, forsook the ascetic life of contemplation in monasteries and went into the world to bring religion to people everywhere. The friars answered an important social need. The population of Europe had grown so rapidly that by the thirteenth century the establishment of parishes lagged far behind. The people of town and city, ……
19. They resented the wealth of the Church and the worldliness of the clergy. They felt little attachment to the great institution that seemed to pay so little attention to their spiritual needs. The friars served where there were no priests, living with the townspeople, teaching them, and administrating the sacraments to them. At the same time, the friars set an example of simple faith and poverty, fixed firmly to rigid orthodoxy. They seemed to the troubled souls of thirteenth-century Europe a reincarnation of the Apostles.
20. The Order of Friars Minor, or Franciscans, was founded in 1210 when [Pope] Innocent III gave his approval to the primitive rule drawn up by St. Francis of Assisi and his followers. …… They refused to live in isolation and practiced poverty so complete that they insisted they did not even own the ragged garments on their backs. Furthermore, they preached an inspirational brand of Christianity that might easily slip over into heresy. But Innocent saw their worth: the Church needed men such as these to help revive once more the ideals of the Founder. ……
21. St. Francis (1182-1226) …… was repelled by the materialism he saw around him and gave up the life of business his father had intended for him. …… He soon began to preach humbly to whoever would listen, even to the birds and the beasts. …… In 1223, again against his wishes, he prescribed a more elaborate rule; the Franciscans were organized and disciplined and made a part of the institution of the Church in spite of themselves.
22. Throughout the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the Franciscans grew in numbers and influence, for their simple lesson of humility and love touched the hearts of all men. …… the anti-materialist doctrine conflicted with profit making was …... a reason for its success. Bankers and merchants renounced their wealth while humble people, already poor, gained hope …… The ideal of St. Francis and his followers became, indeed, the most powerful psychological force among Europeans of the late Middle Ages.
23. Within the order itself, however, the ideal began to be questioned soon after Francis’ death. Popularity brought many gifts of property, and with wealth came a bitter controversy between the Spiritual Franciscans, who wished to live as St. Francis had lived, and the majority called Conventuals, who wished to modify his absolute stand against property.
24. The Dominicans were founded by St. Dominic (1170-1221), a Spanish priest, to extirpate heresy through preaching. Like the Franciscans, the Dominicans traveled about, living in the world, bringing the Word to the faithful. Like the Franciscans, too, they were mendicants, but relaxed the rules against owning property early in their career. [There the similarity stopped]. The Dominicans were the Church’s guardians of orthodoxy -- hounds of the Lord (domini canes, a pun on dominicani, Dominicans) to keep the sheep from straying from the flock. As scholars, they were unrivaled; as inquisitors, they were tireless in their search for heretics.
25. Together the Franciscans and Dominicans revived the Church by bringing it once again into harmony with the changing times. As we shall see, they turned the new learning of the twelfth century to the Church’s advantage, creating systems of theology that took Aristotle account. They protected the interests of the Church in urban Europe, where it was in the greatest immediate danger. …… Above all, they gave the Church and late medieval man an ideal, one that was rarely achieved but one that would prevail until the Renaissance. [The Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity. Edited by John McManners, (Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 1992.), pp. 213-214, 414-417].