Authority & Innovation in Early Franciscan Thought (c. 1220-45)


‘Authority and Innovation in Early Franciscan Thought (c. 1220-45)’ (short-titled ‘INNOVATION’) is a 5-year research project that is funded by the European Research Council, the research funding body of the European Union. The director (‘Principal Investigator’) of the project is Dr Lydia Schumacher, who is based in the Department of Theology & Religious Studies at King’s College London. Her research staff includes Dr Dominique Poirel and Dr Ana Irimescu, who are based at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris, France.

The team will labour over the grant period to expose the pioneering nature of early thirteenth-century Franciscan thought and its pivotal significance for the subsequent formation of the Western intellectual tradition. To this end, the team will undertake the first comprehensive study of the sources, method, content, and later medieval reception of early Franciscan thought. The special focus of the project is the so-called Summa Halensis, which was collaboratively authored by the founding members of the Franciscan school between 1236-45/56. While Schumacher and Irimescu will focus on the philosophy and theology of the Summa, Poirel will trace its manuscript tradition and potentially produce a critical edition of the as yet unedited fourth volume.



The research team welcomes inquiries from those with interests in the early Franciscan intellectual tradition or any matter related to it. There are a variety of options for getting involved with the project or keeping updated on the team’s research.

  • Join the mailing list: via our website to stay up-to-date on project activities.
  • Share about your research: if you are working on the early Franciscan intellectual tradition, we would like to know about it! There may be opportunities for further involvement in the case of those with specialized research interests, and we are keen to network those with similar interests.
  • Translate a text: we are actively seeking colleagues proficient in medieval Latin to translate key early Franciscan texts, short and long, for a Reader.
  • Attend a workshop: a number of workshops will be held over the 5 years, and participants are very welcome. These workshops will bring together leading scholars of early Franciscan thought—including members of the project’s distinguished Advisory Board—to present papers on the themes listed below. Details on how to register will be circulated via the mailing list and website.



The Topics in the Summa Halensis: 13-15 April 2018, All Soul’s College Oxford UK

The Greek and Arabic Sources of the Summa Halensis: 15-17 April 2018, Trinity College Oxford UK

The Latin Sources of the Summa Halensis: 25-8 June 2018, All Soul’s College, Oxford UK

Symposium on Early Franciscan Thought: early August, 2018, Boston College, USA (following the annual Boston Colloquy in Historical Theology)

The Late Medieval/Early Modern Reception of the Summa Halensis: Location TBA


Please contact Lydia Schumacher with any questions.


Oxford Medieval Studies