Studi su gli "Scritti" di frate Francesco (review)

Franciscan Studies 67:521-525 (2009)
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:This volume collects seven articles of Carlo Paolazzi, O.F.M., previously published in journals and congress proceedings between 1996 and 2004, each of them dealing with the Writings of Francis. The essays are not arranged chronologically but move from more general to more specific studies on the Writings of Francis of Assisi. The titles of the essays included are: 1) The Birth of the Writings and Constitution of the Canon ; 2) Francis, Theology and the Letter to brother Anthony ; 3) Anthony cites Francis: the Epilogue of the Sunday Sermons and the Early Rule XVI ; 4) The Writings between Francis and his secretaries: a Knot to be Untied ; 5) Concerning the Autographs of brother Francis: Doubts, Verifications and Confirmations ; 6) Concerning the Authenticity of the Writings of Francis to the "Poor Ladies" ; 7) The Lesser Brothers and Books: Concerning the Exegesis of "the books necessary to fulfill their office" and "Those who do not know how to read" . Each of the essays displays a careful methodology and appreciation for the evangelical content of the texts.The first essay deals with the establishment of the "canon" of Francis's writings in which the author demonstrates that the writings are born and develop from Francis's relationship with the Word of God. In this context, "writing" takes on the character of an "essential moment" in Francis's relationship with the Word , with God and with the brotherhood. This explains for Paolazzi, the passion with which Francis recommends the writings to those to whom they are addressed.The second and third essays are related to Anthony of Padua and the writings. The second essay deals with the content and authenticity of the Letter to Anthony, included by Kajetan Esser in the canon of Francis's writings. Paolazzi argues that the expression, "Brother Anthony my bishop" goes back to Francis himself. He suggests that Anthony's request for permission to teach reflects the concern of the novice who had permission from his minister to have a breviary, but was uncomfortable and needed Francis's explicit permission , a characteristic of the tension in the brotherhood upon Francis's return from Egypt in 1220. The conditions Francis places on the teaching of Anthony reflect Francis's concern that the Word of God not be approached purely from an intellectual perspective, but rather as a Word which must transform life. The third essay attempts to demonstrate that the Epilogue to Anthony's Sunday Sermons integrates sections of chapter 17 of the Early Rule. Paolazzi concludes this careful lexical study with the affirmation that Anthony had the Early Rule's exhortation to preachers in chapter 17 before his eyes as he concluded his Opus Evangeliorum .In the fourth essay Paolazzi tackles the question of the role played by secretaries in the production of the Writings of Francis. Scholars, including Esser, have suggested that because of his health and/or because of his status as "illiterate," Francis depended on secretaries to put his thoughts on paper. Paolazzi approaches the question by citing a saying attributed to Francis from the Mirror of Perfection . That this saying goes back to the historical Francis Paolazzi concludes based on both the content and the fact that it reflects Francis's literal approach to the Gospel. The saying states that Francis wanted no one to call him good, father or master because of the teaching of Christ in the Gospel who said that only God should be addressed with these titles . He then studies the usage and appearance of these three terms in the Writings of Francis, which confirm a consistent usage in accord with this saying. This demonstrates that the Writings reflect the "speech" of Francis and not simply his conceptual thought. Paolazzi considers that "in the Writings religious thought and the verbal lexicon of evangelical inspiration respond one to..
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DOI 10.1353/frc.0.0037
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