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Title: Poor brides of Christ : distinctive forms of Franciscan mysticism in Bonaventure and Angela of Foligno
Author: Hahn, Michael Stephen
ISNI:       0000 0004 9353 0165
Awarding Body: University of St Andrews
Current Institution: University of St Andrews
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis examines the distinctive nature of early Franciscan mystical theology. Working from Bernard McGinn and Kevin Hughes' argument that there is little in Francis of Assisi's own writings that can be considered mystical but that he creates a spiritual milieu, I argue that Francis (1181/2-1226) and Clare of Assisi (1193/4-1253) develop a theological outlook grounded in their emphasis of physical and interior poverty. I then examine how this tradition is inherited by two Franciscan mystics: Bonaventure (c.1217-1274) and Angela of Foligno (d.1309). Part One explores the origins of the Franciscan order and the development of what can be called its ‘theology of poverty.' Chapter One examines Francis through his own texts, and the hagiographic texts written about him. Chapter Two focusses on Clare as developing Francis's focus on poverty, in her forma vitae and letters. Part Two argues that Bonaventure and Angela develop Francis and Clare's theology of poverty into overtly mystical writings. Chapter Three presents Bonaventure as a scholastic expression of Franciscan mysticism, taking influence from both Francis and Clare in the many genres in which he presents his mystical theology. Chapter Four then compares Bonaventure to his contemporary and fellow scholastic mystic, Meister Eckhart. Chapter Five examines the Franciscan nature of Angela's vernacular mystical theology, presenting the central roles poverty and a focus on Francis as alter Christus play in her theology. Chapter Six compares Angela to her contemporaries from Northern Europe, most notably Hadewijch, Mechthild of Magdeburg, and Marguerite Porete. Bonaventure and Angela share key components that are characteristic of Franciscan mysticism in this period. Namely, this includes self-annihilation as imitating Christ's kenosis, and a focus on the enduring quality of penitential and ascetical practices.
Supervisor: Hyland, William P. Sponsor: Alfred Dunhill Links Foundation ; University of St Andrews
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Franciscan theology ; Mystical theology ; Medieval mysticism ; Francis of Assisi ; Clare of Assisi ; Bonaventure ; Angela of Foligno ; Franciscan mysticism