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Mendicant School Exegesis

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Chapter Summary

The two largest mendicant orders, the Friars Preachers (Dominicans) and the Friars Minor (Franciscans), had very different beginnings. The Dominicans started out as a taskforce of well-trained preachers and priests eager to counter the influence of dualist heresies in Southern France and Spain. They adopted a life of austerity modeled on the biblical message in order to be successful in their struggle against ascetic Cathar spokesmen. Solid biblical learning was a cornerstone of the Dominican identity from the outset. The Franciscans, on the other hand, began as a body of lay people identifying with the message of the poor and suffering Christ presented in the Gospel. Their initial submersion in the biblical message on the one hand had a socially activist character, and on the other hand took over strong meditative elements from earlier eremitical communities.

Keywords: biblical text; Christ; Franciscans; Friars Preachers; mendicant exegesis; Southern France; Spain



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