The Kinship of Saint Francis - 676 

for the most part, quotes it consistently. When it is read within the context of the Lesser Brothers' turbulent history in the fourteenth century, Arnald appears to be side-stepping many of the more acrimonious, divisive passages assumed into the more expansive of the two Mirror texts, i.e., the Sabatier edition. Moreover, as he attempts to defend the honor of Caesar of Speyer and justify the actions of those who followed his example, he introduces the word "community" into the vocabulary of these texts. The implications of the paragraph seemed to have so jarred the one transcribing it that he adds an interpretive comment: "This statement is an addition or an interpretation on that permission [given above], as I believe, of Brother Arnald of Sarrant of happy memory, formerly the Provincial Minister of the Province of Aquitaine and a Master of Theology."

The most vexing questions about The Kinship center on what is missing. That which is available provides additional insights into the struggles of the Lesser Brothers and their attempts to resolve them not only by having recourse to the life of Francis, but also by marshalling the sources of his life to satisfy their needs. While Bonaventure's Major Legend may have articulated nine primary virtues of Francis's—and his followers'—life, Arnald's treatise presented an alternative perspective in which Christ's life became the form to which Francis—and his followers—were called to conform. Arnald's work seems to have had little impact beyond providing possible inspiration for Bartholomew of Pisa.

Writing of the sixtieth General Chapter, Marianus of Florence wrote:

The sixtieth General Chapter was celebrated in Assisi in the year of the Lord 1390 by the General, Brother Henry.13 At that Chapter Bartholomew of Pisa presented a book concerning the conformities of Blessed Francis which he had recently produced. This Brother Bartholomew was a teacher of sacred theology, a devout man in all ways, and an exemplary zealot of his perfection and profession, who freed many people possessed by the devil and performed other miracles.14

Bartholomew had begun writing his own description of the conformities fourteen years earlier, that is in 1385. Although it was initially received with great enthusiasm and continued to be regarded with great esteem, by the sixteenth century it was ridiculed and scorned. Erasmus Alber wrote a scathing criticism of the work entitled Alconranus Franciscanus [The Franciscan Qur'an] and, in the aftermath of the Reformation, Bartholomew's work has been neglected. In its shadow, however, Arnald's work has also been lost. One can only hope that future research will uncover lost and neglected manuscripts so that the fullness of Arnald's contribution may one day be savored.




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 676