Review Of "Reluctant Saint: The Life Of Francis Of Assisi" By D. Spoto

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Spoto (an independent scholar) aims to clear away the legends and to portray realistically Francis's pilgrimage from playboy to reluctant saint. To reconstruct Francis's thoughts and feelings, Spoto lays out in rich detail the cultural influences that were part of his consciousness. A picture emerges of a very human Francis, convinced that he was in the hands of a loving God, that conversion was not a thing of the moment but the process of a lifetime, and that his mission was to social outcasts, lepers, the poor, and the destitute. Like Adrian House's Francis of Assisi (CH, Oct'01), this biography is well written and informed by the most recent scholarship. However, House describes what Francis said and did, whereas Spoto focuses on the saint's inner life. Although neither biography is a hagiography, Spoto is more skeptical than House, questioning, for example, the stigmata. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers; students and scholars at all levels.


This work is freely available courtesy of Choice Reviews. The review has been reproduced in full in the abstract field.

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