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Theological and Polemical Uses of Hagiography: A Consideration of Bonaventure’s Legenda Major of St. Francis

Theological and Polemical Uses of Hagiography: A Consideration of Bonaventure’s Legenda Major of St. Francis

Hubert, Susan J.

Comitatus Vol.29 (1998)

Introduction

Bonaventure’s Legendae of St. Francis of Assisi occupy an ambiguous position in relation to his theological and spiritual works. In the first place, many historians believe that Bonaventure wrote the Legenda Major, or Major Life, to restore unity to the Franciscan Order. According to some historians of the Order, such as Raphael Huber, this is to Bonaventure’s credit. John Moorman and other writers, however, view Bonaventure’s portrayal of Francis as tantamount to a rejection of the Franciscan ideal. The Major Life also has been criticized for being unoriginal and inferior to the other early biographies of Francis.

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