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FURTHER EVIDENCE FOR THE DATE OF THE PSEUDO-BONAVENTURAN MEDITATIONES VITAE CHRISTI In the quest to assign an accurate date to the popular and influential pseudo-Bonaventoran Meditationes Vitae Christi (MVC), scholarly efforts during the past few decades have demonstrated that the text was written much later than was previously supposed . The reasons for assigning a thirteenth-century date to the MVC have now been discarded: Cardinal Bonaventure (d. 1274) is no longer credited with the authorship of all or any part of the text,1 and the assertion that the Meditationes influenced the Middle English Southern Passion (composed between 1275 and 1285) has been effectively refuted.2 Moreover, the discovery 1 Benedict Bonelli was the first to question the attribution to Bonaventure in Prodromus ad Opera Omnia S. Bonaventurae (Bassano, 1767), suggesting in his place the Tuscan friar Johannes de Caulibus as the author of the work; for a brief overview of the evidence for the latter attribution, see "Jean de Caulibus," Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique 7 (Paris, 1974) col. 324. The editors of the Quaracchi edition of Bonaventura's works rejected the AfVC as spurious; the basis for their exclusion of the work appears in Fedele da Fanna et al., eds., Doctoris Seraphici S. Bonaventurae S.R.E. Episcopi Cardinalis Opera Omnia 10 (Quaracchi, 1882-1902) 25. In one of the most important studies of the Meditationes Vitae Christi, Columban Fischer argued that one of the versions of the work, the version known as the Meditationes de Passions Christi, was an authentic Bonaventuran work which was subsequently incorporated by another author into the MVO, see Columban Fischer, "Die Meditationes Vitae Christi: Ihre Handschriftliche Überlieferung und die Verfasserfrage," Archivum Franciscan Historicum 25 (1932): 3-35; 175-209; 305-48; 449-83. A succinct summary of Fischer's views can be found in his article, "Bonaventure," in Dictionnaire de spiritualit é ascétique et mystique i (Paris, 1937) col. 1851. Giorgio Petrocchi and Mary Jordan Stallings have subsequently refuted Fischer's claim that the Meditationes de Passions Christi is an authentic Bonaventuran work and reaffirmed the unity of the AfVC; see Giorgio Petrocchi, "Sulla composizione e data delle Meditationes Vitae Christi" Convivium raccolta nuova (1952) 757-78, and Mary Jordan Stallings , ed.. Meditaciones de Passione Christi Olim Sancto Bonaventurae Attributae (Washington, D.C., 1965) 3-35. 2 The argument for the influence of the AfVC on this text was made by 236SARAH MCNAMER that one of the sources for the passion section was not written until 1298 or 1299 has provided strong positive evidence that the text had its genesis after 1300.3 The date of the MVC now widely accepted among scholars is that given to the text in a 1980 entry in the authoritative Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique: "début du 14e siècle."4 This article aims to establish an even later date for the composition of the workbetween about 1336 and 1360—by bringing into view recent work on the authorship of the Revelations of Elizabeth of Hungary , a text which is quoted at length in the AfVC-or more specifically , in the longest of the three Latin versions of the MVC, the 96-chapter version which is considered by most scholars to be the original form of the work.5 The article will then go on to point out some of the important implications that this revised date for the MVC may have for an understanding of the relationship between this text and the "stil nuovo" in Italian painting of the early fourteenth century. Beatrice Brown in her introduction to The Southern Passion, E.E.T.S., O.S. 169 (1927). Oliver Pickering has put forward convincing evidence that the parallels Brown adduces are more likely to have come from sources other than the AfVC, moreover, several stylistic features Brown presents as points of similarity—such as the relation of writer to audience—are in fact dissimilar on closer inspection. See O. S. Pickering, "Devotional Elements in Two Early Middle English Lives of Christ," Leeds Studies in English n.s., vol. 14 (1983): 152-66. 3 E. Colledge, in " 'Dominus cuidam devotae suae': A Source for PseudoBonaventura ," Franciscan Studies 36...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-9718
Print ISSN
0080-5459
Pages
pp. 235-261
Launched on MUSE
2013-07-03
Open Access
No
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