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251 Franciscan Studies 60 (2002) FRANCIS THE MUSICIAN AND THE MISSION OF THE JOCULATORES DOMINI IN THE MEDIEVAL GERMAN LANDS In 1262, the Franciscan chronicler Jordan of Giano reflected on his career as a missionary among the German people. Overwhelmed by the success of his order, he wrote: When I consider my own lowly state and that of my companions who were sent with me to Germany and when I consider the present state of glory of our order, I am dumbfounded and praise in my heart the divine mercy.1 Jordan had good reason to marvel. Since he and his fellow missionaries had arrived in 1221, the Franciscans had established a large network of convents that extended to every region of the German lands. Scholars and preachers in his order had propagated the values of Franciscan piety among the burghers, monks, and secular clergy of this vast territory. Many of Jordan’s brethren had become advisers to the nobility; others had enhanced the influence of the order through their activities as priests and prelates. Moreover, they had transmitted their spirituality to the people of the German lands through music, as Francis himself had ordained. Over the past one hundred years, scholars have studied the Franciscan movement and its phenomenal growth in the medieval German lands. The research of G. E. Friess, Konrad Eubel, and 1 “Consideranti mihi meam et aliorum qui mecum sunt missi in Theutoniam humilitatem et ordinis nostri qui nunc est statum et gloriam in memetipso confusus divinam in corde meo extollo clemendiam” (Jordan of Giano, Chronica Fratris Jordani, ed. H. Boehmer, Collection d’études et de documents [Paris: Librairie Fischbacher, 1908] Prologue). References to Jordan’s Chronica are by chapter number. My translation of this text is based on The Chronicle of Brother Jordan of Giano in XIIIth Century Chronicles, ed. Placid Hermann, O.F.M (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1961). One should note that despite his enthusiasm, Jordan was not, at first, a willing participant in the growth of the Franciscan order in the German lands. He writes that his fellow Minorite brothers did not care for his goings about, asking the names of the friars who had volunteered to go on the mission to Germany only so that he could later say that he had known a martyr. When Jordan came to speak with Fr. Palmerius, he was physically restrained from leaving the group of volunteers; thus, it is quite by accident that he was counted among them (Jordan, Chronica, 18). PETER LOEWEN 252 Leonhard Lemmens, near the turn of the century, was seminal in establishing the historical narrative concerning the foundation of Franciscan convents in this region.2 In their brief historical surveys, Rainald Fischer, Ernst Englisch, and Meinrad Sehi have revised and elaborated on the information in these early studies.3 The sociological implications of Franciscan expansion in the German lands have become clearer through the work of John Freed.4 Kurt Ruh and other scholars of Germanistik have considered the advances of Franciscan spirituality through studies of Franciscan literature composed and copied in the German lands.5 This body of evidence has helped to confirm what Jordan’s chronicle implied - that the Franciscan movement had become an integral aspect of German culture by the end of the thirteenth century. This argument gains strength when one considers the musical achievements of the Franciscan movement. A close study of the 2 G. E. Friess, Geschichte der österreichischen Minoritenprovinz (Vienna: Carl Gerold, 1882); P. Konrad Eubel, Geschichte der oberdeutschen Minoriten-Provinz (Würzburg: F. Bucher, 1886); Eubel, Geschichte der Kölnischen Minoriten-Ordensprovinz, vol. 1, Veröffentlichungen des historischen Vereins für den Niederrhein (Cologne: Boisserée, 1906); Leonhard Lemmens, Niedersächsische Franziskanerklöster im Mittelalter (Hildesheim: August Lax, 1896). 3 Rainald Fischer, “Der Franziskanerorden im Gebiet der heutigen Schweiz,” 800 Jahre Franz von Assisi: Franziskanische Kunst und Kultur des Mittelalters, Krems-Stein, Minoritenkirche 15. Mai–17. Oktober 1982 (Vienna: Amt der Niederösterreichische Landesregierung, 1982) 307–11; Ernst Englisch, “Zur Geschichte der franziskanischen Ordensfamilie in Österreich von den Anfängen bis zum Einsetzen der Observanz,” ibid., 289–306; Meinrad Sehi, “Die oberdeutschen Minoritenprovinz im Mittelalter,” ibid., 270– 88. 4 John B. Freed, The...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-9718
Print ISSN
0080-5459
Pages
pp. 251-290
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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