""My task . . . is to rely as much as possible on both written and visual sources, although I obviously must consider the discoveries and insights of modern scholarship, in order to present Francis of Assisi as a major figure in the mystical tradition. This means I will not be much concerned with Francis as the founder of a religious order. I will not present a detailed biography, although the first chapter provides a general overview in order to make the more detailed discussions of his spirituality more intelligible. Rather than attempt to discuss all texts by and about Francis of a mystical nature, I shall instead focus on six elements of his life and spirituality--his conversion; his relationship to the created world; the creation of the Christmas crib at Greccio; the role of learning; the relationship between the active and contemplative life; and his stigmatization at LaVerna in 1224, two years before his death. I believe that a detailed discussion and analysis of these aspects of Francis's life will best introduce the reader to Francis of Assisi."" --from the Introduction William R. Cook received his PhD in medieval history from Cornell University. At present, he holds the rank of Distinguished Teaching Professor at the State University of New York at Geneseo. Professor Cook has taught and lectured on St Francis throughout the United States and has directed summer seminars on Francis's life for the National Endowment for the Humanities in Assisi and Siena.
Francis of Assisi
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