Olivi and the Interpretation of Matthew in the High Middle Ages

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In this work, Kevin Madigan studies the development and union of scholastic, apocalyptic and Franciscan interpretations of the Gospel of Matthew from 1150 to 1350. These interpretations are placed within the context of high-medieval religious life and attitudes of the papacy toward the Franciscan Order. Madigan uses the fortunes of the Franciscan Peter Olivi (d. 1298) and his commentary on Matthew as a lens through which to observe the larger theological and ecclesiastical developments of this era. Structured in three sections, the book begins with an analysis of the scholastic gospel community tradition in the schools of Laon and Paris. The second section of the book offers a detailed examination of the Treatise on the Four Gospels by the famed apocalyptic writer Joachim of Fiore. Finally, Madigan turns his attention to the disputes which plagued the Franciscan Order during the first century of its existence. Madigan also focuses on Olivi's Commentary on Matthew . He argues that this little-known work is perhaps the only Matthew commentary in the high Middle Ages to have been influenced by Joachim's apocalyptic thought and shaped by internal and external disagreements over the highest form of religious life. Filled with severe criticisms of the hierarchy and leadership of the Church, Olivi's Matthew commentary was examined and eventually condemned by papally appointed theologians in the early 14th century.