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Mendicant Orders And The Reality Of Economic Life In Italy In The Middle Ages

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Chapter Summary

This chapter offers preliminary definitions of three terms such as "the spiritual Franciscan controversy," "the community," and "mendicancy". This word "mendicancy" seems easy to define, but it could be seen in several ways. At the narrow end of the definition we have "mendicancy" as begging. At the wide end, we have "mendicancy" as shorthand for that life characteristic of the mendicant orders, or in this case one of them, the Franciscans. The problem with this more panoramic vision of the spiritual Franciscan controversy is that we have little evidence for it outside of Angelo Clareno's writings. Angelo has the so-called Leo sources to fall back on. Modern historians have struggled with the problem of finding a good word for the rest of the order, everyone other than the zealots, and have settled on "the community"; but such a term homogenizes a very disparate group of people.

Keywords:Angelo Clareno; community; mendicancy; spiritual Franciscan controversy



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