Book acquisition in the medieval Franciscan order
Journal of Religious History
14 - 28
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The need to provide the friars with a sound theological formation for preaching and pastoral care forced the Franciscan order to establish a hierarchical network of convent schools in the Middle Ages. This inevitably necessitated the acquisition of books, both individually and institutionally, through the foundation of convent libraries. There were three main ways through which the friars enlarged their book collections: donations and bequests, purchase, and, to a limited extent, book production within the order. The evidence coming from the testamentary records and possession notes on the Franciscan manuscripts, combined with the testimony of the order's statutes, reveals the enthusiasm of the friars to collect and keep books, and the difficulties it prompted.