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Francis of Assisi and the Pursuit of Learning

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Chapter Summary

Francis of Assisi was a relatively well-educated lay person, who opted for a life of evangelical perfection, emphasizing poverty and identifying with the outcasts of society. At first sight these ideals preclude any form of study, and it may be assumed that initially Francis did not give matters of study much thought. This being said, right from the outset Francis shaped his religious experience with recourse to the biblical text and classics of the Christian tradition, and used the written word both to help constitute his movement, and to communicate his convictions on Christian life to his friars and the world at large. As soon as missionary endeavors began to predominate within the movement, notwithstanding a great love for eremitical retreat, Francis implicitly opted for the necessity of training his friars, if only to forego charges of heretical teaching, and to adhere to the doctrines of the Church.

Keywords: biblical text; Christian tradition; Church; Francis of Assisi



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