General Introduction - 27 

craft, presented the editors with translations that were faithful and pleasing to read. That they did this without concern for payment but as an expression of their commitment to the Franciscan heritage makes their translation more eloquent. Secondary translators, copy editors, readers, and technicians from every corner of the Franciscan Family offered their services. A large number of benefactors dedicated to the vision of Francis was always at hand to assist, as were scholars throughout the world, responding to questions or appeals for advice or critiquing interpretations or positions held. Among these benefactors, the editors of Paulist Press and Franciscan Publications were generous in freely granting permission to republish the earlier translations of Eric Doyle, O.F.M., Ewert H. Cousins, and Serge Hughes. Upon hearing of the project, the personnel of New City Press, especially Patrick Markey, not only responded to the hope of having volumes available to readers throughout the world but also unstintingly gave of their time and patience to bring the project to completion.

From the outset Francis of Assisi: Early Documents became an endeavor of men and women of the entire Franciscan Family, men and women enamored of the Gospel spirituality of Francis of Assisi. The manner of their giving to this project made the editors ever aware that the spirit of the thirteenth-century saint, founder, and prophet is very much alive. It has been re-assuring to know that Thomas of Celano’s description of the enthusiastic, far-reaching acclaim shown at Francis’s canonization continues to exist. The editors are grateful to all those assisting them in bringing this project to completion. They are even more so to the Spirit of the Lord Whose instruments they have been in attempting to follow the footsteps of Francis himself and the dedication of Thomas, Julian, Bonaventure, Leo, Angelo, Rufino and of so many articulators of the Franciscan tradition.


  1. Francis of Assisi, The Earlier Rule XVII 7 (hereafter ER).
  2. In this regard, the editors are indebted to a new generation of scholars who have approached these documents in a more objective, scientific manner, e.g. Attilio Bartoli Langeli, Giovanni Miccoli, Felice Accrocca, Duncan Nimmo, et al. Jacques Dalarun's La Malavventura di Francesco d'Assisi: Per Uno Storico delle Leggende Francescane (Milano: Edizioni Biblioteca Francescana, 1996), is typical of this new wave of scholarship. While not answering all the questions, it raises many new perspectives.
  3. In this regard the work of David Flood is noteworthy, especially his collaboration with Willibroad VanDijk and Thadée Matura, The Birth of a Movement (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1976). Flood's approach prompted others to place Francis's writings in their historical con- texts and consider the immediate and long-range implications of his movement.
  4. The dating of The Legend for Use in the Choir (hereafter LCh) is debated. Because of its simi- larities to The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano (hereafter 1C), its composition between the years 1230-1232 is more commonly held. Others suggest its composition between the years 1243-1244 because of three new elements: the words of the Seraph on La Verna, the precise date of Francis's death, and the deposition of his body in San Giorgio.




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 27