The Assisi Compilation - 115 

critical, objective study of the sources for understanding Francis of Assisi. Manselli viewed Bigaroni's edition critically as a major contribution because it made the entire text of the Perugia manuscript accessible.17 In 1992 Bigaroni eventually published a second edition of the Compilatio Assisiensis, correcting many of the errors or oversights of his first work and addressing the criticisms of scholars.18 This final work forms the basis of this translation.

In light of the principle of the chronological order established at the outset,19 determination of the place of The Assisi Compilation in Francis of Assisi: Early Documents was difficult. As noted, most scholars agree with 1311 as the date for the composition of Codex 1046. Bigaroni correctly called the work a "compilation" containing the material sent to Crescentius between 1244 and 1245, statements of Leo that Brooke maintains were written much later, and parts of The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul by Thomas of Celano written between 1245 and 1247. Publishing only the earliest sections, following the examples of Delorme and Brooke, would settle the problems of chronology and of confusion about its title, and The Legend of Perugia could still be used. Such a decision, however, would overlook Bigaroni's contribution of identifying the work as a compilation.

In order to resolve these difficulties, the editors chose, in the first place, to acknowledge the Bigaroni text and to publish the entire Assisi Compilation. It is placed in this volume before The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul to acknowledge the earlier composition of those reminiscences of Francis's companions. A meticulous comparison of the Latin texts of The Assisi Compilation with The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul by Thomas of Celano revealed exact parallels. These verbatim parallels are indicated in The Assisi Compilation by means of a marginal note [2C↑] in which the arrow points to a future text. The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul will indicate these passages by use of an emboldened font and the customary marginal reference [AC]. In both instances, the translation of each passage is the same. Furthermore, the editors chose to use marginal references to refer to The Legend of Perugia [LP] published by Ferdinand Delorme in his 1926 edition and translated in St. Francis of Assisi: Omnibus of Sources.

The Assisi Compilation remains a puzzling text. The opening paragraphs offer an insight into the overall text which is lacking in chronological or thematic order. The frequent use of the phrase "we who were with him" suggests that the text is a more immediate experience of Francis. Nevertheless, it is uneven and, at times, contradictory. On one hand, the text presents Francis as tolerant of many practices undertaken by the brothers, even as one who favors a greater liberty in certain ascetical practices. In many other passages, however, the saint appears harsh, judgmental, and abrupt.20 At times "we who were with him" come across as acerbic, sharp, and opinionated; at others almost intimidated by the gentle, warm-hearted brother whom they champion.

Even a cursory reading of the Assisi Compilation gives the impression that, as early as the 1240's, its authors were disgruntled at events within the Order and eager to return to its primitive beginnings as they remembered them. Although it is difficult to date the Words of Saint Francis (AC 15-20) and the Inten

 Previous

Next 

 

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 115