A Mirror of the Perfection (1318) - 210 

The text, in other words, was edited by someone dependent on that material written by Leo and the companions but omitted from the "common Legend," i.e., the Major Legend of Saint Bonaventure. Furthermore, in light of the incipit, Lemmens maintains that it was a supplement to Bonaventure's portrait and, therefore, written after the decree of the 1277 General Chapter of Padua.14

At the time of its publication, the Lemmens text undoubtedly caused a stir. It provided yet another insight into the tradition of Leo and his companions that had been lost. In 1922 Ferdinand Delorme's discovery of Manuscript 1046 of the Biblioteca Augusta in Perugia shed light on the Lemmens text and prompted scholars to intensify their discussions of the "Franciscan Question." Now it offers another collection of the "Leonine" tradition and yet another perspective as to how they were used to address the issues of the time.

The Sabatier Edition

From his first publication of the Mirror of Perfection in 1898 until shortly before his death, Paul Sabatier spent considerable energy examining forty-five manuscripts of this controversial text in order to publish a definitive edition. In 1923, Sabatier presented his findings to the British Society of Franciscan Studies and within two years sent the results to his publisher. By this time, however, illness was taking its toll and only after his death on March 4, 1928, was his work finally published.15

Sabatier's text of the Mirror contains one hundred and twenty-four chapters which the French scholar initially believed had come from the hand of Brother Leo. In 1907 Alphonse Fierens was among the first to contest Sabatier's conclusions about its origins,16 but it was only after Ferdinand Delorme had discovered the Perugia Manuscript 1046 that it became clear that the Mirror was composed of materials taken from what is now known as the Assisi Compilation, the Words of Saint Francis, the works of Thomas of Celano and Conrad of Offida, and, in one instance, of Francis himself. One hundred and fifteen chapters of Sabatier's edition come from the same source as the Assisi Compilation; four come directly from Thomas of Celano's The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul, and one from his Life of Saint Francis; and two from The Words of Saint Francis.17 Only one paragraph, 84, is completely original: the poem in honor of the Portiuncula.

Nevertheless, an early study by Benvenuto A. Terracini of the Sabatier edition concluded that the compiler of the fourteenth century text was more concerned about the stylistic or exegetical nuances of his work than by polemical issues.18 Although Terracini was only able to compare Sabatier's edition with Thomas's Remembrance, which some scholars of the time thought was its source, he discovered differences in syntax and tense, and observed that obscure ellipses of the earlier Remembrance text were clarified by repetitions and a generous supply of pronouns, adjectives, and additional verbs. Terracini also pointed out that the Sabatier edition was laced with what appeared to be glosses or editorial comments. Thus the editor of the Sabatier text takes many




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 210