“Francis of Assisi” by Augustine Thompson

Francis of Assisi: The LifeFrancis of Assisi: The Life by Augustine Thompson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is about the well-known Italian holy man known as Francis of Assisi. Known for many things, he is found in religious works, historical narratives, and secular press. This biography does assume you have heard of the man. Otherwise, why would you be reading it? Francis of Assisi is the typical Franciscan monk in paintings and statues: brown robe with white cords, decorating gardens. Even Pope Francis I selected the name as a homage tribute to what the name is known for: the protection of nature, commitment to simplicity, and dedication to the poor. Francis of Assisi is the typical representation of the end result of spiritual pursuits by non-Christians. This book asserts that each generation as made, and remade, the understanding of Saint Francis into one better understood in their own language.

With this in mind, the publishers have chosen to look at who the real Francis is, not the one known to society over the years. In this pursuit, many tales that seem out of character of historical narrative, such as those that bestow Saint-like powers, are not considered for the framework of the character of Francis. The authors admit the struggles to learn the real Francis, not the one created by legends. This book painstakingly looks at this situations and early writings, scrutinizing them in an attempt to clearly indicate the true understanding of Saint Francis of Assisi. The work put into this is very similar to the work that many individuals have put into determining the authenticity, and provenance, of the Bible itself. A good academic read, but not for the light reader, for certain.

Disclosure: I was contracted to write an honest review in exchange for a reviewer copy of the product. The opinions stated in this review are solely my own.

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