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This book addresses the need for scholarly attention to the field of alternative, non Augustinian apocalypticism and its implications for the study of Piers Plowman Kathryn Kerby Fulton discusses the major prophets and visionaries of such alternative traditions, who are characterised by their denunciation of clerical abuses, the urging of religious reform, and an ultimate historical optimism Her book offers a proposal for the importance of such traditions, particularly as represented in the writings of Hildegard of Bingen, to the understanding of Langland s visionary mode and reformist ideology Dr Kerby Fulton also explores the relevance of the prophetic mentality fostered by Joachite thought, and the reactionary response which it triggered in antimendicant eschatology Above all, this book provides a stimulating challenge to assumptions that Langland s views of the course and end of history are wholly conventional, or easily explained by Augustinian eschatology The outcome of this study of contexts for Piers Plowman suggests that Langland s position in relation to different apocalyptic traditions was at once sophisticated and original than scholars have hitherto realised


10 thoughts on “Reformist Apocalypticism and Piers Plowman

  1. Tom Elrod Tom Elrod says:

    The general argument that a reformist strain of apocalyptic writing exemplified by Hildegard and Joachim is as influential on Langland as older, Augustinian inspired traditions is somewhat convincing, although I don t know if there s the binary here i.e., that Augustine CAN T be influential because Joachim is which Kerby Fulton suggests Langland contains multitudes, after all.Also, she presses it a bit further than that, not simply suggesting that Langland was aware of and incorporated The general argument that a reformist strain of apocalyptic writing exemplified by Hildegard and Joachim is as influential on Langland as older, Augustinian inspired traditions is somewhat convincing, although I don t know if there s the binary here i.e., that Augustine CAN T be influential because Joachim is which Kerby Fulton suggests Langland contains multitudes, after all.Also, she presses it a bit further than that, not simply suggesting that Langland was aware of and incorporated elements of reformist apocalypticism in Piers Plowman, but that these sources were the most influential to him and central to the work of the poem Uhmaybe The book doesn t offer up much that s concrete, I feel, things which Langland CLEARLY took from any specific writer There are certainly stylistic similarities and ideological convergences, but this seems to suggest that Langland and the reformist visionaries were floating in the same pond, so to speak, not necessarily communicating with one another