Visio latronis conversi (Actus Beati Francisci et sociorum eius, caput XXIX) : The Vision as a Purifying Act: Some Comparative Considerations


The inconsistent New Testament representations of the afterworld left a generous space of manifestations for the author interested in the state of the souls after death. At the crossroads of afterworld descriptions in the Hebrew and Graeco-Latin culture and exploiting theses of the canonical or heterodoxic Christian theology, visiones animarum are throughout the Early Middle Ages a literary pattern. Initially inserted in comprehensive works, then as autonomous texts, the pattern was meant to illustrate aspects related to particular judgement, the topography of the afterworld, punishments and beatitudes reserved to the souls, etc. Though the Divina Commedia is considered a chronological limit and an artistic peak of the medieval visiones animarum, this literary lone remained equally attractive in the (immediately) subsequent period. In the lines below, I aim to analyse the vision featured in chapter XXIX of Actus Beati Francisci et sociorum eius from the perspective of the topic specific to the genre and the purpose of visions as literary texts and acts of the spirit.

Keywords: visiones animarum, Saint Francis, Actus Beati Francisci..., the afterworld, soul, purification

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