Sep 29, 2021
While working on a cover for a new publication project, Dr. Aaron Gies, assistant professor of theology and Franciscan studies, uncovered evidence that a figure of a reading scholar that inhabits an initial graphic letter "T" in a 13th century manuscript now at the Vatican Library is likely the oldest extant representation of Alexander of Hales, the first Franciscan to hold a theology chair at Paris.
Hales, who was likely St. Bonaventure’s own teacher, died in 1245. The manuscript was certainly made before 1372, but likely dates to the second half of the 13th century, making it at least a century older than the oldest previously identified image.
An article on the international blog Franciscan Connections, run by the Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University and the Franciscan Study Center at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, tells the full story (with pictures): https://www.franciscanconnections.com/blog.php?bid=141
An expanded version of the article will appear in Early Thirteenth-Century English Franciscan Thought, edited by Lydia Schumacher. The volume will be published next month by DeGruyter.