First English edition of the Nuremberg chronicle: being the Liber chronicarum of Dr. Hartmann Schedel…

John (Ioannes) Scotus, of the Barefoot Order, a subtle teacher of the Holy Scriptures, flourished in the Year of the Lord 1300, or thereabout, as a second Apollo, and wrote very subtle books on the other teachers or the Holy Scriptures; and concerning the book of Sentences, particularly the fourth, on the higher criticism (which he then reduced to order, as it is said), he wrote many subtle things; for this reason he was called the Subtle Scholar. In addition, he also wrote many expositions and interpretations of the Holy Scriptures, and other works well known to the learned. Being a highly educated man, he made other men learned. Through his ingenuity the body of scriptural wisdom marvelously took form. He finally died of a stroke, although some say he was buried alive.[John Duns Scotus, one of the greatest of the medieval school-men, was born about 1265 in the village of Duns, Scotland. Joining the Franciscan Order, he studied at Merton College, Oxford, where shortly after 1290 he lectured on the , philosophy and theology. He then spent four years in Paris and after retuning to Oxford, was again, by 1302, lecturer in Paris. There he received the master’s license. He was transferred to Cologne, where he died in 1308. His works are chiefly commentaries on the Bible, on Aristotle, and on the of Peter Lombard. Duns Scotus was the critic of preceding scholasticism, and the founder of a new type of thought. The schoolmen of the thirteenth century, especially Thomas Aquinas, had systematized and defended the Christian theology by means of the philosophy of Aristotle. On certain points, Aquinas diverged from Aristotle, but the disagreement of Duns Scotus went much deeper. He contended that Aquinas was wrong in subordinating the practical to the theoretical, and seeking in speculation, instead of in practice, for the foundation of Christian theology. This contention struck at the whole Aristotelico-Christian philosophy. Theology, he holds, rests in faith, and faith is not speculative, but practical – an act of will. The system of theology built up by Aquinas is subjected by Duns Scotus to a searching criticism, conducted with consummate dialectical skill, and abounding in refined distinctions, which gained him the title Doctor Subtilis (‘The Subtle Scholar’). In his own system he maintained a strict orthodoxy. He carried on a zealous controversy against the Dominicans (Aquinas’ order) in defense of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.]

Raynerius of Pisa, of the Preaching Order, an excellent master, courageous in teaching and speech, a very pious and holy man, was held in high esteem at this time. Just how highly learned, scripturally wise, and ingenious he was, appears by a book which he began to write, and being without a title, begins thus, Absolution, etc. The material in this book shows how scripturally wise and of what pious disposition this man was. For this reason he is justly remembered among other excellent, highly learned, and praiseworthy men.[Raynerius of Pisa (d. 1348), a Dominican, wrote an alphabetical summary of the doctrine of Thomas Aquinas which some scholars believe even today is useful.]

Nicholas of Lyra, of the Barefoot Order, a distinguished luminary among the teachers of the Scriptures, at first disputed and wrote against the ill will of the Jews, devoting much care and labor to the subject. And later, to their revilement and derision, he interpreted and explained the Old Testament with zeal and industry in many works; and in consequence of this he became renowned throughout the world. It is said that in the beginning he was a teacher of the Jews, and thus knew their tongue and script and was very learned in them. He is said to have been converted to Christ from the Jewish faith, afterwards adopting the Barefoot Order.[Nicholas of Lyra (c. 1265-1349), French commentator, born in Lire, now Vieille-Lyre (Eure), entered the Franciscan order at Verneuil about 1300, and studied at Paris, becoming a scholar before 1309. He taught there for a number of years. He was a provincial of his order in France and later in Burgundy, and as Executor of the estate of the widow of King Philip VI, he founded the college of Burgundy at Paris. He died there in 1349. Among his authentic works are two commentaries on the entire , one following the literal sense, the other the mystic sense. He also wrote two treatises against the Jews, a theological work on the Beatific Vision, directed against Pope John XXII, as well as a book of devotions.]

Alanus, a very highly learned scholar, lived, as some say, at this time. Although well informed in all the arts he was so renowned in the Scriptures and in natural philosophy that he was deservedly called the Scholar of Everything. He was buried in the Cistercian cloister, and his marble tomb is on the right as one passes out of the chapel of the church; and on it is written, Alanus, who knew all there is to be known[Alanus ab Insulis (‘Alanus from the Islands’; also called Alain de Lille), scholastic philosopher, born about 1128, probably at Lille, was a Cistercian monk. About 1151, he became bishop of Auxerre. He died in 1202 or 1203. Among his best known theologico-philosophic works are those dedicated to Clement III, in five books, entitled (‘The Art of the Catholic Faith’), in which he defends the principal teachings of the Christian Church against the attacks of the pagans, Jews and heretics. Of his political works, is one of the most celebrated poems of the Middle Ages.].

Clara, a native of the little town of Montisfalconi[Probably Montefiascone, a town and Episcopal see in the province of Biterbo, Italy.], of the Augustinian Order, a virgin renowned for her virtuous and pious life, there departed from this world in blessedness in the year 1299. This most holy virgin performed such great services and so many miracles that she might well be enrolled in the number of the saints. In praise of her piety we give this testimonial which may be seen with open eyes and which has never been read concerning any other pious person. For when she died, there was seen in her heart a clearly defined image of the crucifix, with the scars of suffering; also three small stones of equal weight, as an obvious indication of her holiness.

The Fraticelli, the heretics, together with their heresies, were condemned by Pope Boniface and ferreted out with great zeal. It was ordered that they be extirpated at all costs. Therefore the corpse of Hermannus, originator and beginner, which had remained interred for twenty years at Ferraria, was dug up and burned. These heretics met in caves by night; and during the day the initiates sang according to the Christian custom; but after midnight they exhorted men and women to promiscuity in a loud voice. And when a child was born, it was passed from hand to hand among them all until it died. Later the dead child was roasted and the ashes put in a small cask and wine poured on it; and when the now converts drank this, they were regarded as confirmed in their heretical faith.

The Fraticelli originated in the marquisate of Ancona about 1294, most of them being apostate monks, under a superior named Pongiloup. They drew women after them on pretense of devotion and were accused of licentiousness in their nocturnal meetings. They were charged with maintaining a community of wives and goods. An abundance of libertines flocked after them because they countenanced their licentious way of life. Their opponents claimed that when a child was born as a product of their promiscuous relations, it was tossed about from hand to hand in their assemblies until it died. The member of the cult upon whose hands the death occurred became the high priest of the order.

The name Fraticelli was given during the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries to a number of religious groups in Italy, differing widely from each other, but all derived more or less from the Franciscan movement. The word is a plural diminutive of the Italian frate (‘friar’). As early as 1238, Gregory IX condemned all who begged or preached in a habit simulating that of the mendicant orders, and this condemnation was repeated by his successors. The term Fraticelli was used contemptuously to denote not any particular sect, but the members of orders formed on the fringe of the church. But the name may be more justly applied to an extreme and fanatical offshoot of Franciscanism, which we hear of definitely in 1322 as established in Sicily, and known as Fraticelli. This group of exalted and isolated ascetics began to regard itself as the sole legitimate order of the Minorities and then as the sole Catholic Church. After being excommunicated as “schismatics and rebels, founders of a superstitious sect, and propagators of false and pestiferous doctrines,” they proceeded to elect a general, and then a pope called Celestine. For nearly a century they were able to carry on an active campaign of getting their message out throughout Italy, until Pope Martin V, in 1426, appointed two of the strict and orthodox sections of the Franciscan Order as Observants, with orders to make a special crusade against the heresy of the Fraticelli. From 1426 to 1449 the Fraticelli were unremittingly pursued, imprisoned and burned. The sect gradually died out after losing the protection of the common people, whose sympathy was now transferred to the austere Observants and their miracle-worker Capistrano. From 1466 to 1471 there were sporadic burnings of Fraticelli, and, after the latter date, the name disappears from history.