Master Class on St. Francis of Assisi: “How to Write a Biography of a Medieval Saint”

Jan 25, 2013
Gavin House
1220 E 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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Cosponsored by the Medieval Studies Workshop

In his new book, Francis of Assisi: A New Biography, Augustine Thompson, O.P., sifts through the surviving evidence for the life of Francis using modern historical methods. The Francis who emerges here is both more complex and more conflicted than that of older biographies. This one-day master class will consider whether the historical Francis can be recovered from countless modern and medieval appropriations and compare Fr. Thompson's biography on Francis's early life with a variety of biographical sources.

Among the most beloved saints in the Catholic tradition, Francis of Assisi (c. 1181-1226) is popularly remembered for his dedication to poverty, his love of animals and nature, and his desire to follow perfectly the teachings and example of Christ. During his lifetime and after his death, followers collected, for their own purposes, numerous stories, anecdotes, and reports about Francis. As a result, the man himself and his own concerns became lost in legend.

Participants are also encouraged to attend the symposium on Francis of Assisi: A New Biography (Wednesday, January 23 at 4:30PM) and lecture on Francis of Assisi: Lost between Myth and History (Thursday, January 24 at 7:ooPM ) by Fr. Thompson, both of which will take place in Swift Hall, 3rd Floor Lecture Hall, 1025 East 58th Street.

Reading List:

  1. “The Franciscan Question” (pp. 153-70)
  2. “Chapter 1: When I was in my sins, 1181-1205” (pp. 3-18)
  3. “Sources and Debate on Chapter 1” (pp. 189-206)