A History of Franciscan Education (c. 1210-1517)

A History of Franciscan Education (c. 1210-1517)

A History of Franciscan Education (c. 1210-1517)

A History of Franciscan Education (c. 1210-1517)


The history of education within the Franciscan order during the medieval period is presented here in a new light. This comprehensive volume offers a new synthesis of Franciscan education, showing the dynamic development of the Franciscan school network, between the early thirteenth and the early sixteenth century. The organisation of study houses throughout the many Franciscan order provinces are discussed, as well as the relationship between these Franciscan study houses and the medieval universities and the various study programs offered to Franciscan students. Separate chapters are devoted to related issues, such as library formation, the instruction of homiletic techniques, and the formation of Franciscan theological schools of thought. The work emphasises the dynamics of the Franciscan school network and the importance of extra-curricular activities in the schools at convent and custodial levels.


This work intends to be a concise yet encompassing handbook on the history of education in the first order of Friars Minor during the medieval period (until 1517). It is a concise work in that it does not contain lengthy digressions on sub-topics and, when possible, refers the reader in the footnotes to more detailed studies. the choice to be concise was a deliberate one, motivated both by my own ideas concerning the ideal length of an introductory scholarly work, and by the marketing policies of the publisher. Concise as it may be, this work is meant to be encompassing as well. It aspires to depict the emergence and the development of the schools in the various order provinces throughout the later medieval period. in addition, this work deals with main characteristics of the education provided in these schools, and the contexts in which these schools were able to flourish.

In the first chapter, the school-organisation itself will be addressed, sketching the emergence of schools and studia on the conventual, custodial, provincial, and supra-provincial level, as well as the relationship between Franciscan studia generalia and the universities. Specific attention is paid to the distribution of schools in the various provinces, and to the careers of students and lectors on different levels.

In chapter two, the actual curricular activities are touched upon, focussing on the length of the scholarly year and the books or texts used by students and teachers for the various disciplines. This chapter also contains some tentative remarks concerning the study of (canon) law, medicine and languages in the Franciscan order; topics that definitely require further study.

The third chapter follows with an analysis of the educational situation in the Observant movement from the late fourteenth century onwards. the Observants had a different, if changing, attitude towards learning than the ‘Conventual’ wing of the order. Attention is paid to the educational ‘Werdegang’ of the Observants, and also to the educational ideology presented by their most prominent spokesmen. in a final paragraph some preliminary remarks are made about the relationship between Observant and non-Observant mendicant education and (proto-) humanist ideals.

Chapter four deals with the question to what extent it is feasible to . . .

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