The Conformity


The Conformity

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents
edited by
William J. Short, O.F.M.
translated by
Christopher Stace, M.A., Ph.D.
    About the book

    For six centuries this text, so vital to the Christian communities that had been touched by the life of Saint Francis, has never been published into a modern language. This landmark translation brings The Book of Conformity to today’s reader.

    Renowned Franciscan scholar Paul Sabatier called it “the most important work that has been made on the life of Saint Francis.” The Book of the Conformity (often called The Conformities) represents the high­est point of medieval glorification of the figure of St. Francis. It contains a nearly complete record of the saint’s own writings, and a vast store of material from all the known hagiographical legends of the saint from the 13th through late 14th centuries. In addition, it has extensive lists of the places where Franciscan friars, Poor Clare nuns and Franciscan tertiaries lived and ministered, with personal details about many Franciscan personages, both famous and obscure.

    The author, Bartholomew of Pisa, divided his large work into what he calls 3 "Books". Part 1 concerns the Incarnation, the Nativity and the early life of Jesus, with corresponding similarities to be found in the early years of Francis's life. Part 2 concerns the years of the public ministry of Jesus, his preaching and healing, calling of disciples, travels from one place to another, with similar events in the life of Francis. Part 3 concerns the Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension/Glorification of Christ, and the events of Francis's last days, his illnesses and suffering, his receiving of the stigmata, his death, canonization, and the miracles attributed to him as a heavenly intercessor.

    You can download the Free Index of The Book of the Conformity here:

    The late fourteenth-century Liber Conformitatum of Bartholomew of Pisa, a vast and ingenious exegetical essay in which the parallels between the actual and legendary lives of Francis and the gospel and legendary lives of Jesus are laid out and developed at great length, is the most extensive Franciscan literary monument to the idea of Francis as alter Christus.  Though controversial even in its own day, it is a gold mine of ideas and images for students of medieval Franciscan theology, literature, and the visual arts, among whom this English language edition will find a warm welcome.

    John V. Fleming
    Princeton University

    I am told that Francis of Assisi has the longest single bibliography of any person in history. This magnificent collection, both scholarly and complete, will show you why — ‘the whole world runs after him.’ — It might start you running too.

    Richard Rohr, O.F.M
    Author of Discovering the Enneagram, Center for Action and Contemplation

    Never translated into a modern language, this enormous work has been under-exploited. The first English translation by Christopher Stace, edited by William Short, will allow us to discover the richness of this monument which restores the universal and local dimensions of the Order of Friars Minor

    Jacques Dalarun

    This late medieval work of Bartholomew of Pisa is an extended meditation on the conformity of the life of Francis with the life of Jesus Christ. It is a tapestry of medieval hermeneutics and Franciscan sources highlighting the rich theme of conformitas. This welcome addition to the already published volumes is highly to be praised.

    Lawrence S.  Cunningham
    The University of Notre Dame

    About the author