The Origin, Development, and Refinement of Medieval Religious Mendicancies


Editor: Donald Prudlo
The nature of mendicancy as it developed among various religious orders during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries is the subject of considerable debate. In spite of this, little in the way of a comprehensive review of the phenomenon as a whole has been undertaken. What has been done has either been order-specific (with an emphasis on the Friars Minor) or has focused on points of special conflict regarding the mendicant ideal (University debates, Spiritual Franciscans). Little work exists on the roots of mendicancy, or on the creative ways in which mendicancy was understood (and deprecated) in various quarters. Few studies try to bring together both the theory and practice of religious mendicancy. The effect that events had in molding and changing the mendicant ideal is also often neglected, as are the ways in which it was independently and creatively appropriated by individuals and groups. Needless to say, all of this is strange for a movement that most are content to label “Mendicant.” Perhaps it may even be the case that “mendicancy” is not useful as a descriptive concept. The purpose and intention of this handbook is to offer an analysis of the term and to present an up-to-date and comprehensive introduction to the phenomenon of religious mendicancy in the central and later middle ages. It provides a contextualized guide that will introduce the central issues in contemporary scholarship regarding the mendicant orders. This project approaches the controversies from a multitude of angles and unites in one volume the insights of different disciplines such as social and intellectual history, literary analysis, and theology.

The present work is divided into three main sections, I) The origins and foundations of medieval mendicancy, II) The development and articulation of mendicant ideals, III) The reception and appropriation of mendicancy in the middle ages. The chapters herein serve as a solid point of departure for advanced students and scholars.

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Donald S. Prudlo (Ph.D., University of Virginia, 2004) is assistant professor of Ancient and Medieval History at Jacksonville State University in Alabama. His specialization is in medieval religious history and medieval Italy and his current research interests include hagiography and saints’ lives, medieval miracle stories, Church history, and the development of canonization. His first book, The Martyred Inquisitor: The Life and Cult of Peter of Verona (†1252) was published by Ashgate Press in 2008.
“excellent collection” […] “those seeking an introduction to the study of mendicancy and religious poverty would do well to pick up this new volume in Brill’s Companions to the Christian Tradition series.” - Joe Creamer, Fordham University, in: The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 64, No. 1 (January 2013), pp. 154-155
“A distinctive and useful collection […]. It should attract a broad audience.” - Joseph P. Byrne, Belmont University, in: Church History, Vol. 81, No. 3 (September 2012), p. 679

Donald Prudlo

Section I

The Origins and Foundation of Mendicancy

Chapter 1 - The Origins of Religious Mendicancy in Medieval Europe
Augustine Thompson

Chapter 2 - From Osma to Bologna, from Canons to Friars, from the Preaching to the Preachers: the Dominican Path Towards Mendicancy
Anthony John Lappin

Chapter 3 - Female Mendicancy, A Failed Experiment? The Case of Saint Clare of Assisi
Joan Mueller

Section II
The development and articulation of mendicant ideals

Chapter 4 - Mendicancy among the Early Saints of the Begging Orders
Donald Prudlo

Chapter 5 - Pastoral Care, Inquisition, and Mendicancy in the Medieval Franciscan Order
Holly Grieco

Chapter 6 - The forging of an intellectual defense of Mendicancy in the Medieval University
Andrew Traver

Chapter 7 - Mendicants and the Italian Communes in Salimbene’s Cronaca
David Foote

Section III – The reception and appropriation of mendicancy in the middle ages

Chapter 8 - Mendicant Orders and the Reality of Economic Life in Italy in the Middle Ages
Antonio Rigon

Chapter 9 - Effects of the Spiritual Franciscan Controversy on the Mendicant Ideal
David Burr

Chapter 10 - The Hidden Life of the Friars: The Mendicant Orders in the Work of Walter Hilton, William Langland, Geoffrey Chaucer, and their Literary World
Pat Bart

Chapter 11 - Mendicancy in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth centuries: “Ubi necessitas non urgeat”: the Preachers Facing the “refrigescens caritas”
Silvia Nocentini

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Graduate students and specialists in the fields of medieval history (church, social, cultural, political), libraries of most research schools in medieval studies, libraries of many undergraduate schools.