Human Nature in Early Franciscan Thought

Lydia Schumacher, Human Nature in Early Franciscan Thought: Philosophical Background and Theological Significance (Cambridge 2023).

In this book, Lydia Schumacher challenges the common assumption that early Franciscan thought simply reiterates the longstanding tradition of Augustine. She demonstrates how scholars from this tradition incorporated the work of Islamic and Jewish philosophers, whose works had recently been translated from Arabic, with a view to developing a unique approach to questions of human nature. These questions pertain to perennial philosophical concerns about the relationship between the body and the soul, the work of human cognition and sensation, and the power of free will. By highlighting the Arabic sources of early Franciscan views on these matters, Schumacher illustrates how scholars working in the early thirteenth century anticipated later developments in Franciscan thought which have often been described as novel or unprecedented. Above all, her study demonstrates that the early Franciscan philosophy of human nature was formulated with a view to bolstering the order's specific theological and religious ideals.

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