General Introduction - 25 


  1. The source of this mandate is obscure. It cannot be found in either the Constitutions of Narbonne nor in its Definitiones. Giralomo Golubovich notes that the Ceremoniale ordinis minorum vetutissimum or Ordinationes divini officii issued in 1254 during the generalate of John of Parma contains this phrase: Item ordinetur de legenda beati Francisci, ut de omnibus una bona compiletur [Likewise it is ordained concerning the legend of blessed Francis, that one good one be compiled from all the others]. Golubovich and Desbonnets maintained that the decision referred to the composition of The Minor Legend (hereafter LMn) because of difficulties in reconciling the liturgical texts with the data provided by later texts. Michael Bihl, on the other hand, was convinced that the decree was appended to the Ceremoniale at a later date and, in reality, was directed at the composition of The Major Legend (hereafter LMj). Cf. Ceremoniale ordinis minorum vetutissimum seu "Ordinationes divini officii" sub Ioanne de Parma ministro generali emanatae an. 1254, a cura di Giralomo Golubovich, in AFH 3 (1910): 76.
  2. Bonaventure intersperses thirty-five of the miracles described in 3C in LMj. Bonaventure adds five new episodes to his own Treatise on the Miracles, the second part of LMj.
  3. Cf. Miscellanea Franciscana 72 (1972): 247. See discussion FA:ED I 18. Duncan Nimmo offers a balanced critique of Bonaventure’s work in the context of rival standpoints on observance of the Rule, cf. Reform, 75-78.
  4. Ewert H. Cousins described Bonaventure’s Soul’s Journey into God as"a summa, comparable in its own sphere to the Summa theologicae of Thomas Aquinas, for he draws together in a comprehensive synthesis major strands of Christian spirituality." Cf. Bonaventure: The Soul’s Journey into God, the Tree of Life, The Life of Saint Francis, translation and introduction by Ewert H. Cousins, preface by Ignatius C. Brady (New York, Ramsey, Toronto: Paulist Press, 1978), 20. In a similar vein, LMj could been seen as Bonaventure’s attempt to pinpoint Francis’s uniqueness in the larger spiritual tradition of Christianity and, in doing so, to identify the fundamental reason of his holiness, i.e., the mystical pursuit of God.




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 25