A Buried Treasure Revealed: The Book of the Conformity of the Life of Saint Francis to the Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Buried from the ordinary reader for 600 years, and available only to scholars, this hugely important work is now available for the first time in a modern language!

 

Two decades ago, we saw the appearance of “Francis of Assisi: Early Documents,” a three-volume collection of Francis’s own writings and all the medieval hagiographical sources on him down to the mid-14th century. Now, this series will be continued with the publication of a massive work, “The Book of the Conformity of the Life of Saint Francis to the Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ,” written by Friar Bartholomew of Pisa between 1385-1390.

The Book of the Conformity (often called The Conformities) represents the high­est point of medieval glorification of the figure of St. Francis. It contains a nearly complete record of the saint’s own writings, and a vast store of material from all the known hagiographical legends of the saint from the 13th through late 14th centuries. In addition, it has extensive lists of the places where Franciscan friars, Poor Clare nuns and Franciscan tertiaries lived and ministered, with personal details about many Franciscan personages, both famous and obscure.

The author, Bartholomew of Pisa, divided his large work into what he calls 3 “Books”. Part 1 concerns the Incarnation, the Nativity and the early life of Jesus, with corresponding similarities to be found in the early years of Francis’s life. Part 2 concerns the years of the public ministry of Jesus, his preaching and healing, calling of disciples, travels from one place to another, with similar events in the life of Francis. Part 3 concerns the Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension/Glorification of Christ, and the events of Francis’s last days, his illnesses and suffering, his receiving of the stigmata, his death, canonization, and the miracles attributed to him as a heavenly intercessor.

For six centuries this text, so vital to the Christian communities that had been touched by the life of Saint Francis, has never been published into a modern language. This landmark translation brings The Book of Conformity to today’s reader.

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