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Francis of Assisi: The Life and Afterlife of a Medieval Saint

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  61 ratings  ·  13 reviews
In this towering work, André Vauchez draws on the vast body of scholarship on Francis of Assisi produced over the past forty years as well on as his own expertise in medieval hagiography to tell the most comprehensive and authoritative version of Francis’s life and afterlife published in the past half century.

After a detailed and yet engaging reconstruction of Francis's l
...more
Kindle Edition, 415 pages
Published October 23rd 2012 by Yale University Press (first published 2009)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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Stephen Simpson
Dec 29, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Caught myself just skimming about halfway through ... just hoping to find something, anything, that was interesting, novel, or added to the understanding of the subject.

The author himself notes in the intro that there are so very many works on the subject ... and yet he unwittingly seems to have churned out just another entry in that canon with no real incremental value that I can see.
Karen
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italy-and-greece
Scholarly, so if that is what you want this is for you; I found it informative but dull. I am not Catholic and feel that if I had grown up with the St. Francis stories this analytical biography would have been more interesting.
Amy Moritz
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was looking for some good reads about St. Francis, so I went to the best academic source I know, Fr. Dan Horan, who recommended this book to me. And let me tell you, when I say "academic source" that's what this book is. Which is why it took me so long to read. It's detailed and nuanced and approaches the life of St. Francis as a historian. I learned a lot. But it took some time! Which in turn was deliberate because I wanted to make the most out of my reading, even though I had to have my good ...more
Chris Lussier
Oct 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography, catholic
Scholarly. If I were writing a research paper, this book would be perfect, but as an inspiring read grounded in real history, I cannot recommend this book. Almost every chapter is bogged down by source-criticism and trying to uncover the "real" or I'd even say, "perfect" biography. The problem, for me, is that I was left with a source-criticism book, not the inspiring story of the saint. I was hoping for an authoritative story of the saint himself, his graces and struggles, not of his biographer ...more
Ephrem Arcement
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best biographies of any saint I've com across. Vauchez's methodology should be emulated by all biographers of saints' lives from here on into the future.
Mark Bruce
Scholarly view of the Poor Man of Assissi's life. And yes, it's just as dull as it sounds.
Weird, because Francis us a man for our time, a protestor against the corrosive power of wealth, an advocate of nature and it's animals, a man on a spiritual quest to fond true God.
But this author reduces him to a collection of academic questions: why didn't he rebel against the authority of the Church? What sort of rule did he really want to lay down for his order? What sort of poverty could he accept for
...more
Lauren Albert
Out of a 336 page book (not counting back matter), only 135 pages deal with the period up to Francis’ death. While the author states that his goal in the second half of the book is to discuss the “afterlife” of the saint, and I think it an important subject, a lot of the material, I think, is part of his life story and should have been integrated into the life itself—discussion of his writings, his relationship with nature and other topics.

I certainly learned from it--if a Jew can be said to ha
...more
Igor
Aug 09, 2019 marked it as stopped-reading  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: europe, religião
I have stopped reading still on the begining. The book seems well written. Maybe I will continue later.
Denis Mcgrath
Nov 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vauchez, a consummate medieval historian, captures the unique biography of Francis of Assisi and his charism of Christian evangelical poverty. Francis was a merchant’s son, a layman who set in motion the Friars Minor and the Poor Ladies on a course of extreme poverty hampered by the institutionalization of his communities by the Roman Church and clerical authorities. Francis never waivered in his fidelity to the Papacy but he also never gave up his embrace of “Lady Poverty” to the chagrin of man ...more
Rev Richard Budgen
Nov 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Scholarly but eminently readable

Having read a lot of books about Francis down the years, for me, this is the best of the scholarly works. Don't be put off that it's written by a scholar, or it's length. It has great depth but is so easy to read. It brought Francis to life for me in a different yet engaging way.
John
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although I may take exception to some of Vauchez' evaluation of sources, I found his emphasis on the importance of being with the least of this world, minoritas, very helpful in understanding both Francis and my calling.
This is not a work one should read when wanting to know the basics of who Francis is, but it is very good.
Krijn Pansters
May 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best biography of Francis anno 2014: scholarly study of his life and works; great analysis of his spirituality; correction of popular misunderstandings about the saint and his worldview.
Kris
started but didn't finish. Too scholarly for my taste.
America Magazine book club title.
Daniel Crowley
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André Vauchez is professor emeritus, University of Paris X.

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