Editor's Note - 27 

Editor's Note

The editors gave this second volume of Francis of Assisi: Early Documents the subtitle "The Founder." The texts presented in this volume reveal the more intense focus of the Lesser Brothers on the Gospel ideals that Francis of Assisi envisioned shaping their fraternity. The endeavor to publish the texts of this second volume in a chronological order, according to the principle established for all three volumes, became a daunting challenge. The dating of the first three texts of this volume are especially controversial,1 as is A Letter on the Passing of Saint Francis attributed to Elias of Assisi which recent scholarship maintains is of dubious origin and should not even appear in this volume.

The manuscript tradition of The Legend of the Three Companions and The Assisi Compilation initially moved discussions toward publishing these two texts in the third volume.2 Further study and careful comparison of the texts, however, revealed that such a decision would reflect more on the development of the Order of Lesser Brothers than on the hagiographical tradition of Francis himself. In other words, although the manuscript tradition dates these texts in the early fourteenth century, the editors believe that the content of these manuscripts has roots in the mid-thirteenth century.3

A careful examination of the Latin texts of The Anonymous of Perugia and The Legend of the Three Companions revealed the dependence of one text upon the other. A relationship was found between The Assisi Compilation and The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul. In both instances, questions arose regarding the chronological priority of these documents. For example, did The Assisi Compilation rely on The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul, or vice versa? To resolve these questions, the editors used the critical editions of these texts, as well as their computerized analyses, Corpus des Sources Franciscaines, undertaken by the Centre de Traitement Électronique des Documents of the Université Catholique of Louvain.4 In the case ofThe Assisi Compilation and The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul, the editors came to the conclusion that at least some sections of The Assisi Compilation were earlier and served as a source for The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul.

As in volume one, The Saint, in order to delineate the reliance of one text upon the other and thereby facilitate a chronological reading of these texts, this second volume also provides cross references in the inner margins to earlier texts. In The Assisi Compilation, however, the reader will note a new symbol: ↑. This indicates those portions of The Assisi Compilation that are taken from

The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul by Thomas of Celano, a later text.5

In addition to cross references, the reader will likewise note that specific sections of the texts are delineated by employing an emboldened font.6 This method of identifying the different texts, although initially distracting, al




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 27