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Chapter Summary

In popular and scholarly writing about the middle ages the commonwisdom is that, among the religious events of the thirteenth century, the most important and long lasting was the appearance of the mendicant orders, in particular the Franciscans. Mendicants were part of an international organization under the papacy—an order. That Francis of Assisi's form of life has direct links with the older pauperist- evangelical movement, to which the Waldensians also belonged, is now a historical commonplace. In the canon law in force at the beginning of the thirteenth century, there was no concept of absolute poverty. Religious poverty at that time meant individual nonownership only. Poverty was highly praised; monks were God's poor, even though theymight be quite wealthy corporately. Finally, at least as religious concepts, mendicancy and mendicant order first appeared in the 1280s. Canonical legislation that would enshrine such a category in law would come only much later.

Keywords:canon law; Franciscans; religious mendicancy; spiritual poverty



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