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 The Kinship of Saint Francis - 675 

underscore Francis's role in this apocalyptic milieu, Arnald introduces the theme that characterizes his work: "He appeared conformed to that one, true sun of justice in everything, that he would be clearly visible to his followers." By doing so, Arnald hearkens back to the theme of conformity that appears as early as Thomas of Celano's Life of Saint Francis.9 At the hand of Arnald, however, it begins to take the sweeping dimensions we see introduced in The Kinship, as he now presents the nine ways in which he understands Francis conforming to the "true sun of justice," Jesus:

He appeared uniquely conformed to Christ in calling his friends, in establishing their way of behaving, in contemplating the sublime, in revealing mysteries, in instructing peoples and transforming their members, in storing up merit, in gathering reward, in performing wonders.10

Curiously Arnald limits himself to only nine conformities; Bartholomew of Pisa later develops forty. Such a restriction, however, suggests that Arnald may have deliberately provided nine chapters as part of a novena or celebration of an extended octave.

The result of Arnald's efforts is a careful weaving together of earlier texts. The chapters that have survived in complete form reveal Arnald's thorough knowledge of these texts and, like the Assisi Compilation, the Tree of the Crucified Life of Jesus, and the Sabatier edition of The Mirror of Perfection, raises questions about the availability of these sources after the decree of 1266 mandating their deletion. At the same time, these chapters present yet another approach to the compiling and editing of those texts circulated among the friars more zealous for the pure observance of Francis's Rule. In this instance, the compiler seems to be more balanced, even conciliatory in his approach.

In addition to the gaps in the manuscripts, other problems plague the text. Arnald's first conformity, for example, the calling of his friends, begins with a description of Francis's family, the first such list in this literature. It begins with the saint's parents and continues for four generations. Not only is it difficult to ascertain Arnald's reason for beginning with such a list of Francis's family; beyond an understandable word-of-mouth, it is difficult to know his source.11 The list of Francis's first religious family, his twelve followers, presents its own set of problems, problems of historicity and of interpretation. While earlier texts provide fragmentary information concerning Francis's first followers, there is a lack of consistency about their identity. A thorough list of the first eleven does not appear until the early fourteenth century, a list to which Angelo Clareno had access.12 In this light, Arnald's list raises a number of questions prompting the reader to wonder if he allowed his interpretations to influence his historical accuracy. Furthermore, his use of Jerome's interpretation of biblical names, while quite accepted in Arnald's time, seems quite contrived.

Arnald's second chapter raises further questions about interpretation. He is obviously selective about his choice of texts from the Assisi Compilation and,




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 675

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