Franciscan Learning, Preaching and Mission c. 1220-1650

Cum scientia sit donum Dei, armatura ad defendendam sanctam Fidem catholicam…


Returning to themes first discussed in his book A History of Franciscan Education (Brill, 2000), Bert Roest discusses in this volume a wide range of issues pertaining to the organization of learning in the Franciscan order in the late medieval and early modern period, and the ways in which this order engaged in pastoral and missionary activities in confrontation with the rise of Protestantism. The essays in this volume break new ground in their treatment of school formation, the chronology of educational developments, and the transformation of Franciscan schools between the mid fifteenth and the mid seventeenth century. They also challenge ingrained scholarly verdicts on the efficacy of sixteenth-century mendicant homiletics, and on the role of the Franciscans in the Dutch mission from the early seventeenth century onwards.

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Dr. Bert Roest (Radboud University) studies mendicant cultural history. His publications include A History of Franciscan Education (2000), Franciscan Literature of Religious Instruction before the Council of Trent (2004), and Order and Disorder: The Poor Clares Between Foundation and Reform (2013).
"In engaging with his earlier scholarship — including some of the critical responses to it—Roest has once again significantly expanded our understanding of the place of learning in the Franciscan tradition over time, as well as the place of the Franciscan tradition in European Scholasticism."
Megan Armstrong, Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. LXIX, No. 1

"The eight articles published in this important volume trace the history of Franciscan education over five centuries and explore the activities of the order’s missionaries in the early modern period. [...] The volume is an excellent contribution to an important series." Jens Röhrkasten, University of Birmingham, in: Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 69 (2018), pp. 141-142.

Preface vii
1 Francis of Assisi and the Pursuit of Learning 1
Introduction 1
Francis as the Enemy of Science? Images from the Hagiographical
Tradition 2
Francis Accepting of Science? The Letter to Anthony of Padua 6
Francis the Gifted Idiota? 8
The Necessity of Studies in an Apostolic Order 11
The Place of Studies in the ‘Authentic’ Writings 12
Tentative Conclusions 15
2 The Franciscan School System: Re-assessing the Early Evidence 19
Introduction 19
Francis’s Ambivalence towards Learning 21
The Stimulation of Learning by Franciscan Minister Generals 24
Early Franciscan Study Houses or Studia Generalia with a Lectorate
Program 26
Additional Anecdotal Evidence Concerning Lectors and Lectorate
Training 39
The Evidence from the Pre-Narbonne Constitutions 45
Conclusion 49
3 Religious Life in the Franciscan School Network (13th Century) 5
The Emergence of a Franciscan School Network 52
Franciscan Novice Training and Spiritual Formation 57
Religious Formation after the Noviciate 61
Routines of Student Life and Study Organization 65
Spiritual Concerns in Sermons Addressed to Students and Teachers 68
The Collationes in Hexaemeron as a Franciscan Metanarrative
of Religious Learning 76
Conclusion 81
4 Mendicant School Exegesis 83
Introduction 83
Early Mendicant Exegesis 85
Discussing Exegetical Method 91
Correcting the Biblical Text 95
Exegesis and the Impact of Joachimism 98
Later Thirteenth- and Early Fourteenth-century Developments 101
The Decline of Mendicant Exegesis? 106
Conclusion 110
5 ‘Franciscan Augustinianism’: Musings about Labels and Late Medieval
School Formation 111
The Problem of a ‘Franciscan School’ 112
Franciscan Augustinianism? 116
Augustinian Themes? 121
Conclusion 130
6 Franciscan School Networks, c. 1450–1650: A Provisional Sketch 132
The ‘Conventual’ Franciscan School Network in the Fifteenth Century 133
Observant Challenges 138
Conventual and Observant Positions on Education and the Pursuit of
Degrees 142
The Conventual ‘Loss’ of Paris and Other Studia Generalia 146
Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century Conventual Answers 150
Observant Continuities and Transformations 164
The Place of Studies among the Early Capuchins 187
Afterword 194
7 Franciscan Urban Preachers in Defense of Catholicism in the Low
Countries c. 1520–1568 197
Introduction 197
Catechisms and Devotional Works 199
Polemical Works 203
Sermons 205
Conclusion 211
8 Franciscan Missionaries in the North of the Dutch Republic
(c. 1600–1680) 213
Introduction 213
Franciscans and the Rise of Protestantism in the Northern Low
Countries 216
The Franciscan Mission in the North 219
Franciscan Missionary Reports 224
Conflicts in the Catholic Camp 230
Epilogue 233
Name Index 237
Place and Subject Index 241
Scholars and students interested in university history and the history of education, history of religious orders, late medieval biblical exegesis, history of preaching, and early modern mendicant mission.