Book Series Mediaeval Sources in Translation, vol. 37

Hervaeus Natalis

The Poverty of Christ and the Apostles

John D. Jones (ed)

  • Pages: 184 p.
  • Size:140 x 210 mm
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2000

Out of Print
  • ISBN: 978-0-88844-287-1
  • Paperback
  • Out of Print


'Is it heretical to assert that Christ and the apostles had none of the things that come into use in human life either in regard to ownership or of dominion over them?' From 1321 to 1323, debate about this question sparked a passionate and bitter controversy over the Franciscan doctrine of the 'absolute' poverty of Christ and the apostles and hence of the basis of the Franciscan practice of poverty. The controversy pitted the Franciscan Order against Pope John XXII and the Dominican Order. This volume contains a translation of two works from that controversy - Hervaeus Natalis's The Poverty of Christ and the Apostles and a Vatican scribe's summary of the positions of several Franciscan clergy including those of two prominent cardinals: Vital du Four and Bertrand de la Tour. Hervaeus Natalis (d. 1323), a distinguished philosopher and theologian, was Master General of the Dominican Order during the controversy. His work, which John XXII read and annotated, provides a comprehensive and rigorous analysis of the central philosophical, theological and scriptural themes at the heart of the controversy. It presents a clear contrast to the positions held by the Franciscans. In their works Hervaeus and the Franciscans treat a wide range of enduring themes in religious and social life: the nature of poverty; the relation of poverty and wealth to perfection; the interpretation of scriptural and patristic authorities; the relationship between ownership, rights and use; the justification for making provision for the future; and so forth. Apart from those works by Thomas Aquinas, this volume presents the only English translation of a principal Dominican treatise on poverty. It concludes with a bibliography and a comprehensive index.