The Early Franciscan Doctrine of the Knowledge of God: Between Augustine’s Authority and Innovation

Lydia Schumacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The collaboratively authored Summa Halensis is widely regarded as the first attempt to articulate a distinctly Franciscan intellectual tradition. This paper will examine one of its initial sections, on the knowledge of God, which lays the conceptual foundation for the rest of the work. While the Summa, like most scholastic texts, invokes many authoritative sources in this context, it gives pride of place to the work of Augustine. Nevertheless, it employs Augustine’s thought inconsistently, to argue both for and against the same position. On this basis, the paper will seek to elucidate the method whereby scholastic thinkers manipulated authoritative sources for their own ends. By the same token, it will demonstrate that the Summa’s authors, far from attempting to ‘systematize’ the thought of Augustine as some have supposed, were engaged in an effort to develop an innovative tradition of their own, which reflected their unique spiritual and ministerial vision as Franciscans.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-28
JournalThe Mediaeval Journal
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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