Critical reviews of The Five Wounds of Saint Francis
'Another book on the stigmata?' the incredulous (and perhaps somewhat
exhausted) reader might ask, after the provocative study of Chiara Frugoni on “the
invention of the stigmata” (1993) unleashed a near twenty-year debate, rekindling
discussions that finally seemed dormant. And yet, after the jumble of hypotheses
and the more disparate, counter-intuitive, and sometimes frankly unfounded
interpretations, it is precisely a study like this for which one felt the need: calm,
rational, documented. A study that has good sense as its revolutionary aspect,
and that nevertheless—or maybe even because of this—, building on the ideas
of others, succeeds in penetrating with finesse the logic of the sources and in
shedding light on the spirituality of Francis."
—Daniele Solvi, Seconda Università di Napoli (Archivum
Franciscanum Historicum 105 : 595-598).
"Benfatti’s work assuredly offers a solid contribution and a point of synthesis for
the question of the stigmata of Francis, both regarding the verification of the
reality of the facts as well as contributing to the spiritual reading of the mystical
event. The carefulness of the historical and textual analyses, with their precision
and thoroughgoing meticulousness, cause admiration and strongly recommend
the reading of this book to whosoever desires to be able to fully understand
the most up-to-date status quaestionis of the 'holy wounds' of the father Saint
— Alessandro Ratti (Il Santo 52 : 306-308).
Advance praise for The Five Wounds of Saint Francis
"Could one hope to say something new about the much discussed problem of
Francis’s stigmata? Solanus Benfatti does it with amazing attention to the medieval
sources and the recent historiography. He offers a personal solution in perfect
empathy with Francis’s singular evangelical experience."
—Jacques Dalarun, Institut de Recherches et d’Histoire
des Textes, Paris
"Fr. Benfatti begins his book with an apt metaphor, the International Franciscan
Bookstore downhill from Assisi. At the front of the shop are countless religious
images and devotional books; at its edges are solemn, scholarly volumes about
Francis; and a great gulf divides the two. The author of The Five Wounds of Saint
Francis bridges that gulf. In chapter after chapter he analyzes, in a scholarly,
exacting way, each bit of testimony about Francis's famed stigmata. In the course
of his study, though, he never falls into the trap of dismissing the supernatural as
unreal, or of closing the door before one has entered the house. This book should
be of interest to scholars and lovers of St. Francis everywhere.
—Joseph T. Lienhard, S.J., Fordham University
From the Foreword:
"We are before a highly mature work. It is both conducted with great responsibility
and seriousness and circumspect in its judgments and conclusions. For the still
current 'question' of the stigmata of Francis, it makes a valuable contribution that
cannot be ignored."
—Fernando Uribe, O.F.M., Pontificia Università “Antonianum”