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Francis of Assisi: The Life and Afterlife of a Medieval Saint Hardcover – October 23, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
This book does not contain too many ideas that will surprise specialists, but those same women and men will still own it and read it and study it and love it. For they all know the reputation of this legendary medievalist who is writing at the height of his maturity. They know his beautiful turns of phrase and ability to capture so much so well (for which the author won the prestigious Chateaubriand award for French literature in 2010). As a matter of fact, two of them apparently felt compelled enough by these things as to set aside their own work long enough to translate this book into English and Italian. That is testimony enough.Read more ›
The scholarship is reliable, and Vauchez connects the dots better than most. His is more than a biography because it takes the Franciscan charism after the death of Francis and writes of development, its sources, and the the reasons for its longevity into the 21st century.
André Vauchez stresses the need for detachment by modern observers from the legendary tales he analyzes which have been passed off as pious non-fiction since the thirteenth century. Any honest connection to Francis and his companions' irretrievable era, Vauchez admits, must first acknowledge the distance between the fervor and mindset of medieval believers and our own. Only then "does it become legitimate to ask ourselves what it is in the life and witness of the Poor Man of Assisi that still interests us". (xiii)
No outlaw, Vauchez situates his subject within this "logic of exclusion": Francis joins the outcasts.
Rather than fleeing the city, as hermits and monks, those restless and resentful of a Church more concerned with clerics than with the Gospel flocked to Francis. He marginalized himself, beside those inside as well as outside cities, socially displaced by economic expansion as feudalism gave way to capitalism. Francis never aimed to found a religious order, but others took notice.
Voluntary poverty, Vauchez explains, drew nobles and the emerging middle class to Francis' idealism. Allied with simple peasants and unlettered workers, a few rapidly expanded into thousands of friars.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Of the recent biographies of Francis, this is, I think, the best in terms of the understanding of the medieval world and the context within which Francis lived. Read morePublished 13 days ago by toronto
A friend informed me that this was one of the best biographies out there on Francis of Assisi. It goes into extensive detail, not only on his death but on how his spiritual legacy... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Thomas B. Brooks
It came quickly and the condition of the book was as stated. Serves my purpose perfectly.Published on July 30, 2014 by dolores reynolds
This is not merely a biography of Francis, as the title indicates. In fact, it is really more a history of how Francis was understood, loved and disdained through the centuries... Read morePublished on April 6, 2014 by Careful Reader
It's a fascinating look as much at the times of Francis as at the man himself. It seeks to do what many of the Jesus scholars have tried to do in recent decades - to put the man in... Read morePublished on October 21, 2013 by Frank J. Wassermann
Beautiful book, beautiful man and saint. A true man of peace. Being in his presence must have been transforming. for all.Published on October 2, 2013 by pcleere1
Great understand of a wonderful man from history. Interesting look into the life of St Francis and a book that I will go back to all the time.Published on September 21, 2013 by Pia