“In Search of the Historical Francis of Assisi”

October 8, 2008 5:30 pm
Minor Hall Auditorium / University of Virginia

Directions To Lecture
Our 2008-09 Public Lecture series at the University of Virginia began on October 8.  Fr. Augustine Thompson, O.P., Professor of Religious Studies and History and a faculty member of the UVA Medieval Studies Program, treated the large audience in attendance to the most luminous fruits of his sabbatical research on the historical Francis of Assisi, which he completed in Italy this past year.
Fr. Thompson began with a concise overview of the voluminous but often problematic state of contemporary historical scholarship on St. Francis.  The audience, a mix of faculty, students and community members, then quickly learned about a handful of medieval texts, like Celano I (1228-29) and Anonymous of Perugia (1240-41), from which almost all subsequent accounts are drawn.  With scholarly precision and a flair for telling an engaging historical account--for example, who could imagine that the details of a surprised Bishop in Rome or of a third person receiving a tonsure would be so important?--Fr. Thompson subsequently proceeded to unravel his novel and revealing account of the paths of the mystical St. Francis and of the historic religious following that would become the Franciscan Order.        

Augustine Thompson, O.P. is the author of the award-winning Cities of God: The Religion of the Italian Communes, 1125-1325 (2005), Revival Preachers and Politics in Thirteenth-Century Italy (1992), numerous articles on medieval Italian history, theology, and philosophy, and the translator of several important medieval texts, including Gratian: The Treatise on Laws and the Ordinary Gloss (with James R. Gordley).

The Department of Religious Studies at the University cosponsored this event.

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