The rediscovered Franciscan manuscript

In 2015, a new Life of Francis of Assisi attributed to Thomas of Celano was discovered, possibly the second written in honor of the saint a decade after his death. This discovery was widely hailed in the media. This Life and several accompanying Franciscan writings (the Regula bullata and the Admonitions in particular) are in fact only a small part of a manuscript containing a great variety of documents. The manuscript of 122 folios is kept at the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BNF NAL 3245) and is available in its entirety on the Gallica website (

From September 20 to 22, 2017, the BNF and the Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes organized in Paris, under the direction of Mr. Jacques Dalarun, a colloquium which sought to explore and to try to understand this original manuscript ( The manuscript raises many questions, having a rather poor appearance and a small size (120 mm by 80 mm). Clearly marked by a moral and a eschatological emphases, was it a tool at the service of itinerant preachers in the early 1240s? Everything seems to indicate several writers: who were they? Italian Franciscan friars who studied in Paris? Was it for individual or collective use? So many questions! Given the interest expressed by the speakers at this symposium, the reflection continues. A collective work should be produced within two years, the fruit of the work of these experts.