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The Road To Assisi: The Essential Biography Of St. Francis [Paperback]

By Paul Sabatier, Jon M. Sweeney (Editor) & Jon M. Sweeney (Introduction by)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   187
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 6" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2004
Publisher   Paraclete Press (MA)
ISBN  155725401X  
EAN  9781557254016  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Portrays a fully human Francis, with insecurities and fear, but also a gentle mystic and passionate reformer who desired to live as Jesus taught his disciples, supplemented with insights from scholars and writers including Bonaventure, Dante, G.K Chesterson and Umberto Eco. Reissue.

Publishers Description
Paul Sabatier (1858-1928), a French Protestant and the first modern biographer of St. Francis, sought to find the man beneath the layers of myth and legend. Sabatier portrayed a fully human Francis, but also a gentle mystic and passionate reformer who desired to live as Jesus taught his disciples. "The Road to Assisi" presents Sabatier's biography for today's reader with helpful explanations and annotations.

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More About Paul Sabatier, Jon M. Sweeney & Jon M. Sweeney

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! About the authors
Paul Sabatier (1858-1928) was educated in Paris and served as a pastor in Strasbourg. In mid-life, he dedicated himself to research and writing about Francis. His pioneering work has influenced the work of generations of scholars and biographers since his time.
Jon M. Sweeney is the author of many books including"The Pope Who Quit," which was recently optioned by HBO."

Paul Sabatier was born in 1858 and died in 1928.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
"Then, as always,the evil made more noise than the good."  Jun 1, 2008

I read this book for several reasons.I belong to a Parish named,St.Francis of Assisi,I know some people who volunteer where meals are served to the needy called St.Francis' Table,We attend an annual St.Francis' Blessing of Animals (pets),a friend recently made a Pilgrimage to Italy,which included a visit to Assisi where she obtained this book,I actually knew very little about the life of St.Francis,and have for a long time been interested in Medevial History.
I found this an excellent book in every respect.I learned many things that,despite my longtime awareness of St.Francis,I really did not know very much about him at all.
It is a book that is very well written,easy to follow,filled with facts and information, and to me did not suffer from the fact that it was written so long ago,translated from its original French and profusely edited and annoted.
It goes without saying,that the book does an excellent job of explaining,often through his own words,who St.Francis was,and why he became one of the Churche's best known,important and loved Saints.
To anyone who is interested in Medevial History;it is a wonderful insight into the everyday life of people in this area during the Middle Ages ,during the life of St. Francis ( 1182-1226 ).It shows how the Church was intimately involved and a part of everyone's way of life and culture. This is at the height of the period referred to as The Crusades;however for whatever reason,they did not seem to affect St. Francis or even his life to any great extent.We do learn that he was a Knight in his early days,his father was a wealthy merchant and his mother was of nobel birth.He also made excursions associated with the Crusades to the Middle East and the Holy Land;but his involvement in fighting and battles was very minimal.We see he could have,and at times lived an extravagent life,but gave it all up for a life of self imposed hardship,poverty and struggle for what he believed in and what led to is becoming a Saint.
For many of the latter years of his short lifespan of only 44 years,he was frail and sick.What the reason for his illness is not clear,and he received little real medical help. Although we must realize, that at that time ,there wasvery little effective medical knowledge and lifespan was much less than today;especially if one became sick or injured.
This would be an excellent book to read if anyone wants to know about St.Francis,who the Franciscians are,and particularly if you plan a visit to Assisi.
Search Out the Original  Nov 26, 2005
In some ways, this is a difficult book to judge. Though the author of this biography is Paul Sabatier, what we are reading is a translation from the French of a book written over a century ago. But it's even more difficult because this isn't even a new translation; in fact, it's the editing and reworking of a translation that is now nearly a century old. With annotations thrown in to boot. And all this extra work has been done by a man named Jon M. Sweeny.

So let me first say this about Sabatier's text as we have it here: it comes across as a fair outline of Francis' life. Sabatier tries his best to stay away from legend and stick to what can be verified about Francis though he can't resist relating some of the more famous stories which is not necessarily a bad thing. And he is frank when he relates something that is like embellished or untrue. If his language and understanding of events seems a little dated, the reader can forgive him for that since there is a lot of valuable information here.

Sweeny's work, however, is more suspect. I wish I had read an un-cut version of Sabatier's work before this so I could better judge the effects of Sweeny's "reworking." On the other hand, I feel much more confident in saying that I found the annotations to be a waste of space. Only very rarely did I find an annotation that I felt added to the reading experience by filling in some detail that Sabatier did not cover in his text. For the most part, the annotations were, at best, uninteresting and, at worst, pointless. And why annotate Sabatier with quotations from Sabatier? It's bad enough the annotations were mainly quotations from other authors, but why quote Sabatier in Sabatier? If it is important enough to annotate, it is important enough to leave in the text instead of editing it out.

In the final analysis, this book is a worthwhile read; particularly if you, like me, enjoy reading old scholarly works to find how our understanding and tastes have changes through the centuries. However, I would suggest tracking down a copy of the original text first. The changes and annotations made here seem to me less than worthwhile.
The first attempt at a modern biography of St. Francis  Apr 7, 2005
Now in a new edition edited and with an introduction and annotation Jon Sweeny, The Road To Assisi: The Essential Biography of St. Francis was first published in French in 1894, as the first attempt at a modern biography of St. Francis, one of the most beloved figures of Christian history. Author Paul Sabatier struggled to answer the question: who was Francis the man? Groundbreaking research reveals the a fully human portrayal of a man who was nonetheless gentle, passionate, joyful, and who desired to live as Jesus once taught his disciples. An extraordinary work that covers Francis' weaknesses as surely as his strengths, enhanced by the annotation and sidebars that place events of Francis' life in historical context. Highly recommended for individual reading as well as biography shelves, and a must-have for library collections.
The Road to Assisi  Sep 18, 2003
I found this book to be the best overall introduction to the life of the saint I've ever read. The editor has taken the best of all of the other books on Francis and incorporated quotes, historical tidbits, literary allusions (i.e. Umberto Eco), maps, and helpful information for anyone headed to Assisi in with Sabatier's classic (and somewhat tragic) story of Francis. A gem.
An Essential Biography  Sep 9, 2003
The Road to Assisi is a factual, well-researched, unsentimental biography of St. Francis. Written in 1894 by Paul Sabatier, the book became a bestseller throughout Europe and made the Vatican's infamous "index" of forbidden books. Sabatier, a French Protestant wrote a very objective biography that portrays Francis favorably, but tells how his order of spiritual brothers was challenged by ecclesiastical authorities. I was surprised to learn that meek and gentle Francis could also be bold, stern, and assertive in many situations. He did not go gently when he reprimanded his brothers and there were several occassions when he did so.

It's a good translation and finely edited by John Sweeney, who has added sidebar annotations that contribute to understanding the people and places in Francis's time.


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