Rene Hernandez Vera

Rene Hernandez Vera

IMS PhD student

Summary: Thesis: Franciscan Manuscripts in Padua from the Thirteenth to the Fifteenth Century: Following the Traces of a Conception of the Book


The intellectual success of the Franciscan Order during the Middle Ages seemed to contradict the original intention of its founder. In fact, Francis of Assisi perceived devotion to books as a great danger to the Order's spirituality. This discrepancy between the intention of Francis and the outstanding intellectual profile of his own Order was one of the main topics of the debate concerning the Franciscan identity.

Using an interdisciplinary approach, my research aims to establish whether the Franciscan Order developed a unique conception of the book in order to reconcile the original intention of the founder with the intellectual profile of the community. A central question of my research is whether the books that were used and produced by the Franciscan friars during the last centuries of the Middle Ages in Northern Italy were an expression of that particular conception.

About me:

Shortly before completing my BA, I took a long break and worked as an editor for several publishing houses. I completed my BA in Literary Studies at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in my native country, Colombia, in 2003. Afterwards, I moved to Italy and completed a MA in Medieval Studies at the University of Padua under the supervision of professors Nicoletta Giovè and Donato Gallo. After finishing my MA I enjoyed the experience of working in the Archive of the city of Padua with a wonderful group of colleagues. Thanks to a FIRS scholarship from the University of Leeds, I am currently pursuing my PhD research at the Institute for Medieval Studies, where I teach on the first- year module, 'Religion and Culture in the Western Middle Ages'.


Professor Brian Richardson (Department of Italian) and Dr Melanie Brunner (Institute for Medieval Studies).