chapter  3
18 Pages

Hitherto Proposed Authorial Candidates, and Dating the Speculum

It has been generally assumed that Jacobus was in clerical orders. Bragard was inclined to think that he was a regular cleric, because he criticises certain secular practices in Book VI.2 Despite diligent searches for monastic or mendicant clues, no religious orders are named, and no hints within the Speculum have proved sufficiently strong to pin him down to one order rather than another: arguments have been finely but inconclusively balanced. The provenance of one of his probable theory sources in Liège could imply Benedictine connections. He knows the practices of Cistercians and Dominicans, as well as of secular clerics ‘tam romanis quam gallicanis et quibusdam aliis, etsi non in omnibus’ (VI. 83), ‘in multis observantur ecclesiis, ut in gallicanis et forsan romanis’ (VI. 85), and:

The simplified reform of the Dominican liturgy by Humbert of Romans was approved by papal bull in 1267, and adopted by some Benedictine houses, including St-Jacques in Liège, as well as in some secular churches. In one of Jacobus’s rare first-person verbs (‘secundum doctrinam quam nunc sequor’, VI. 85), he says that he now follows the practice that has been identified as Dominican; this has been taken to mean a secular liturgy reformed according to Dominican principles, not necessarily that he was a Dominican.3 There is no consensus about his regular versus secular status, let alone for one ‘regular’ affiliation to the exclusion of others, and in naming himself he gives no clue (such as ‘frater’). Indeed, international travel, including time in Paris, could have been financed and facilitated by affiliation to a religious order, but his experience seems to extend beyond the international network of any one order, and also to include secular exposure. And well-travelled mendicants or regular clerics of high learning and accomplishment often identify their affiliation to an order, and do not necessarily remain anonymous. Would Jacobus have been free to be so

eclectic in his liturgical and library gleanings if his travels were under the auspices of a religious order? Might he not have been in orders at all? This possibility will be explored below (see Chapters 6, 8 and 9).