Early Franciscans: Authority, Innovation and Grosseteste

Over the last two days Giles had the privilege and pleasure to engage with a European Research Council funded project, Authority and Innovation in Early Franciscan Thought (c.1220-45). Led by Dr Lydia Schumacher, the project explores in particular the Summa Halensis, one of the earliest theological compendia from the first half of the thirteenth century, and distinguished by the ambition of its enterprise and the range and volume of its questions. In this the Summa, compiled by a team of Franciscan scholars in Paris from the 1230s under the direction of Alexander of Hales and John of La Rochelle, is of essential interest to the development of theological study at Paris over the course of the century. It also provides the foundation for how Franciscan studies evolved in the same period, revealing their innovative thinking and original practice; elements the project will explore.

The first of a series of workshops, organised at All Souls College, University of Oxford, explored issues of doctrine and debate across the early Franciscan tradition, involved Steven Brown (Boston College), Ayelet Even Ezra (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) Sophie Delma (CNRS), Theo Kobusch (Bonn), Boyd Coolman (Boston College), Hubert Weber (Vienna), Gustav Zamore (Stockholm) and Giles Gasper (Durham), with additional responses from Philippa Byrne, Deborah Grice, Emily Corran (Oxford) and Richard Cross (Notre Dame). It was an extremely stimulating environment for discussion. The colloquium provided an excellent opportunity to think more about the links between Grosseteste and the Franciscans, especially on the theme of creation and scientific thinking, in the broader context of early thirteenth century theology and the more particular circumstances of the early Franciscan communities at Paris and Oxford.

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