Franciscan Virtue

Spiritual Growth and the Virtues in Franciscan Literature and Instruction of the Thirteenth Century


Author: Krijn Pansters
This book provides an in-depth analysis of the virtues of evangelical life according to three major Franciscan authors: Francis of Assisi, Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, and David of Augsburg. It is the first to offer a historical and source-based treatment of early Franciscan virtue discourse, by answering the following questions: How do the authors describe and prescribe the essential virtues for the life in the footsteps of Jesus Christ? How are the spiritual virtues acquired or lost? How do the development and application of these virtues shape “perfect” individuals as well as the “good” of the community?
This work is a valuable contribution to our understanding of how the virtues functioned as central, organizing elements in early Franciscan literature and instruction.

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Krijn Pansters, Ph.D. (2007) in Medieval History, Radboud University Nijmegen, and Ph.D. (2019) in Medieval Theology, KU Leuven, teaches Christian Spirituality at Tilburg University (School of Catholic Theology, Franciscan Study Center).
“Pansters’s clear and illustrative text outlining how medieval ‘virtue ethics’ are at the heart of Franciscan spirituality (and, it could be added, of the Christian faith itself) is a scholarly and well researched discussion of the subject and should be on the shelves of every Franciscan theologian.”
Jill R. Webster, University of Toronto. In: Church History, Vol. 82, No.3 (September 2013), p. 710.

Franciscan Virtue will serve as an effective reference tool for those interested in Franciscan spirituality, as well as for those interested in medieval discourse on virtues generally.”
Neslihan Senocak, Columbia University. In: The Medieval Review (2013).

“original both in theme and approach” … the book offers “an innovative rereading of some of the thirteenth-century Franciscan sources in a way that appeals to today’s readers.”
Benedict Vadakkekara, Rome. In: Collectanea Franciscana, Vol. 82 (3-4), pp. 787-788.
List of Illustrations


List of Abbreviations

1. Virtue
1. Background
2. Material Object
3. Selection – Authors and Sources
4. Selection – Virtues
5. Problems of Research – Contents
6. Problems of Research – Canon
7. Method
8. Formal Object
9. Medieval Virtue
10. Franciscan Virtue

2. Virtues (Francis of Assisi, Bonaventure, David of Augsburg)
1. Charity
2. Obedience
3. Goodness
4. Truth
5. Faith
6. Humility
7. Joy
8. Poverty
9. Penance
10. Peace

3. The Virtue of Virtue
1. Configuration
2. Conceptualization
3. Systematization
4. Elaboration
5. Progression
6. Perfection
7. Contextualization
8. Conclusion

1. The Virtues in the opuscula sancti Francisci Assisiensis
2. Bibliographical Overview
3. Instances of habitus datus



List of Illustrations

1. Francis giving his mantle to a poor man. Giotto, San Francesco, Assisi

2. Bonaventure. Victor Crivelli, Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris

3. David of Augsburg. In: Dominicus Custos, Sancti Augustani. Die Augspurgischen Heilligen (Augsburg 1601)
All those interested in medieval mentality, religious culture, theology and virtue ethics.