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Imitatio Francisci: The Influence Of Francis Of Assisi On Late Medieval Religious Life

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Chapter Summary

The history of the imitatio Christi reached a high point, perhaps its culmination, in the life of Francis of Assisi, a dramatic case of abstraction transformed into action. Explaining the Francis-phenomenon is less easy than listing some of its key expressions. The problem, put simply, is that the component elements of his spirituality were not new with him, whereas the totality of them in a single individual was new. One fruitful approach would be to review the history of the theme of imitatio Christi up to the time of Francis. This chapter takes Francis as a point of departure for the imitatio Francisci. It attempts at identifying a few of its manifestations within the confines of the religious life: one concerning Benedict by Benedictines, one concerning Dominic by Dominicans, one concerning Mary Magdalene by Franciscans, and finally one concerning the Holy Family, again by Franciscans.

Keywords: Francis of Assisi; imitatio Christi; imitatio Francisci; late medieval religious life



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