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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

I can speak sensibly only of the Franciscans, and I speak as one from a
different generation who isn't all that sensitive to more recent currents
of scholarship.  Having thus protested, I'll add that the Franciscans
strike me as quite different from the Dominicans in this respect and have
to be looked at separately.   General views of medieval corporate identity
may not help all that much.

Remember that the Franciscans spent their first century experiencing real
tension about who they were, tension that resulted first in persecution of
the spirituals at the end of that period, then in the formation of the
Observants, then, still later, in the formation of the Capuchins.  Along
the way, notions of corporate identity varied wildly.  For example, just
looking at the turn of the 13th-14th C, (1) Olivi saw both himself and his
opponents as part of the same order and simply wanted a bit of reform
within the order;  (2) Ubertino da Casale wanted the reformers to be
recognized as the valid Franciscan order and the others (the vast majority
of purported Franciscans) to be told they simply had to form their own
order; and (3) Angelo Clareno wanted permission to leave the Franciscan
order with his group and be recognized as a separate order with a new name,
but observing the Franciscan rule.  (As he says in one place, some people
think if you have the insitution and the clothing you have what Francis
intended; but Francis didn't talk about instituting an order, he talked
about instituting a form of life, and one doesn't need to be part of the
Franciscan organization to follow that life.)

David Burr

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