Aspects of thirteenth century Franciscan education with special regard to the province of Anglia
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The transformation of the Order of Friars Minor in the course of the thirteenth century is well known-from a group consisting mostly of laymen vowed to poverty and mendicancy, into well-established Order throughout Europe, dominated by clerical intellectuals, with a network of schools the best and most important of which were integrated into the universities, where Franciscan lectors held prestigious chairs. This transformation is incompletely understood. The Franciscan settlement in England, with its concentration on seeking out intellectual centers and on the development of schools, was not only symptomatic of this transformation, but also offers illuminating evidence of the way in which the transformation was effected. Yet as a study of the fragmentary early Franciscan legislation on educational matters reveals, provision for schools and students was a dynamic feature of the whole Order's organisation during its first fifty years of existence. Such a transformation needed to be justified against the attacks of secular masters and dissident Franciscans. It was Bonaventura, the Order's most famous scholar and minister-general, who formulated this justification by strictly limiting the developing educational provision to the Order's clerical scholars. English Franciscan scholars also joined the defence of the Order, thus helping to defend the transformation of which they were an outstandingly successful result.