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The study of rule commentaries is a crucial part of understanding the rationale behind the friars’ way of life. By publishing a series of translations of the most significant early rule commentaries, the Franciscan Institute seeks to encourage the study of these documents and render the commentaries accessible to a wider audience.
Volume I contains The 1242 Commentary (also known as The Four Masters or The Paris Masters), The Commentary of Hugh of Digne, The Commentary of David of Augsburg and The Commentary of John of Wales.
In the commentaries of Volume II Peter of John Olivi and John Pecham picked up on Francis’s effort, in his last days, to cast light on the Franciscan way.
Angelo Clareno’s commentary on the Franciscan rule is unique (and is the content of Volume III). It not only provides a line-by-line explication of the rule but places Franciscan observance in a historical context extending from Christ and his disciples through the desert fathers. It can also be read as a critique of the order in Angelo’s time, as well as a meditation on obedience.
The commentary was written for a group committed to observance of the Franciscan rule yet technically not part of the order at all, a collection of small, more or less eremitical communities spread out through the mountains of central Italy.
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