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Reginald Pecock and the Religious Education of the Laity in Fifteenth-Century England

Reginald Pecock and the Religious Education of the Laity in Fifteenth-Century England by Kirsty Campbell n late medieval England, the production of religious literature in thevernacularconstitutesamassivetransferofclergie--ofknowledge and learning--from the clergy to the laity.Vincent Gillespie writes,"thefifteenthcenturywitnessedanextensiveandconsistentprocessofassimilationbythelaityoftechniquesandmaterialsofspiritual advancement,whichhadhistoricallybeenthepreserveoftheclerical andmonasticorders."Over250copiesoftheWycliffiteBible,mostly infragments,areproducedduringthisperiod.Thisisatimewhen,as Sarah Beckwith notes, "the mechanisms for the transmission of `theology' were expanding, and conventionally theological questions, or questions hitherto restricted to a clerical milieu, were being disseminatedbeyondtheclergyinthevernacular,andhenceunderstoodand received in different ways." The significance and the extent of this transmissionofreligiousculturearewitnessedbythetermvernacular theology,usedbyNicholasWatsontocharacterizeambitiousworkslike Piers Plowman,whichgrapplewithcomplicatedquestionsaboutsalvation,divinejustice,anddivinemercyinalanguagethatwasaccessible tolayreaders. Gillespie, "Vernacular Books of Religion," Book Production and Publishing in Britain, 1375­1475, ed. jeremy Griffiths and Derek Pearsall (Cambridge: Cambridge Studies in PrintingHistory,1989),317. Beckwith,Christ's Body: Identity, Culture, and Society in Late Medieval Writings(London:Routledge,1993),2. Watson, "Censorship and Cultural Change in Late-Medieval England: Vernacular Theology,TheOxfordTranslationDebate,andArundel'sConstitutionsof1409,"Speculum 70 (1995): 822­64. See alsoWatson, "Visions of Inclusion: Universal Salvation and 48 ©2010TheUniversityofNorthCarolinaPress Kirsty Campbell Works of religious instruction, like manuals of pastoral theology, commentariesontheDecalogue,thedeadlysins,andthePaterNoster, andotherdidacticcompilationsformalargepartofthese"materialsof spiritualadvancement"thatmovedfreelybetweenclergyandlaityin thefifteenthcentury.ScholarssuchasVincentGillespiearguethatthese kinds of works--particularly pastoral handbooks and manuals like john Mirk'sInstructions for Parish Priests, and the Speculum Christiani, aworkthat"enjoyedenormouspopularityinthefifteenthcentury"-- provideuswithanimportantsourceofinformationaboutthereligious educationofthelaityinlatemedievalEngland.Indeed,Gillespiesuggeststhatthough"therehasbeenanunderstandabletendencytoconcentrateonthepulpitasthecornerstoneofthedidacticedifice,"itisjust asimportanttopayattentiontothe"developinglaytasteformanuals" ofreligiousinstructionandtothe"increasinglyvarieddemandsmade upontheirresources."AlexandraBarrattconcursthatmuchmorework canbedone(particularlyonquestionsofaudience,purposes,anduses) ondidacticpoemsandproseworksthat"intheirvariousways,cover-- fullyorpartly--theofficialteachingcurriculumforthelaityofthemedievalChurch,"whichincludedtheLord'sPrayerandCreed,thefourteen articlesoffaith,theDecalogue,thetwoevangelicalcommandments,the seven works of mercy, the deadly sins, the principal virtues, and the sacraments. In his study of medieval education, Nicholas Orme has suggested that religious instruction in the late Middle Ages http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Studies in Philology University of North Carolina Press

Reginald Pecock and the Religious Education of the Laity in Fifteenth-Century England

Studies in Philology , Volume 107 (1) – Jan 13, 2009

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Abstract

by Kirsty Campbell n late medieval England, the production of religious literature in thevernacularconstitutesamassivetransferofclergie--ofknowledge and learning--from the clergy to the laity.Vincent Gillespie writes,"thefifteenthcenturywitnessedanextensiveandconsistentprocessofassimilationbythelaityoftechniquesandmaterialsofspiritual advancement,whichhadhistoricallybeenthepreserveoftheclerical andmonasticorders."Over250copiesoftheWycliffiteBible,mostly infragments,areproducedduringthisperiod.Thisisatimewhen,as Sarah Beckwith notes, "the mechanisms for the transmission of `theology' were expanding, and conventionally theological questions, or questions hitherto restricted to a clerical milieu, were being disseminatedbeyondtheclergyinthevernacular,andhenceunderstoodand received in different ways." The significance and the extent of this transmissionofreligiousculturearewitnessedbythetermvernacular theology,usedbyNicholasWatsontocharacterizeambitiousworkslike Piers Plowman,whichgrapplewithcomplicatedquestionsaboutsalvation,divinejustice,anddivinemercyinalanguagethatwasaccessible tolayreaders. Gillespie, "Vernacular Books of Religion," Book Production and Publishing in Britain, 1375­1475, ed. jeremy Griffiths and Derek Pearsall (Cambridge: Cambridge Studies in PrintingHistory,1989),317. Beckwith,Christ's Body: Identity, Culture, and Society in Late Medieval Writings(London:Routledge,1993),2. Watson, "Censorship and Cultural Change in Late-Medieval England: Vernacular Theology,TheOxfordTranslationDebate,andArundel'sConstitutionsof1409,"Speculum 70 (1995): 822­64. See alsoWatson, "Visions of Inclusion: Universal Salvation and 48 ©2010TheUniversityofNorthCarolinaPress Kirsty Campbell Works of religious instruction, like manuals of pastoral theology, commentariesontheDecalogue,thedeadlysins,andthePaterNoster, andotherdidacticcompilationsformalargepartofthese"materialsof spiritualadvancement"thatmovedfreelybetweenclergyandlaityin thefifteenthcentury.ScholarssuchasVincentGillespiearguethatthese kinds of works--particularly pastoral handbooks and manuals like john Mirk'sInstructions for Parish Priests, and the Speculum Christiani, aworkthat"enjoyedenormouspopularityinthefifteenthcentury"-- provideuswithanimportantsourceofinformationaboutthereligious educationofthelaityinlatemedievalEngland.Indeed,Gillespiesuggeststhatthough"therehasbeenanunderstandabletendencytoconcentrateonthepulpitasthecornerstoneofthedidacticedifice,"itisjust asimportanttopayattentiontothe"developinglaytasteformanuals" ofreligiousinstructionandtothe"increasinglyvarieddemandsmade upontheirresources."AlexandraBarrattconcursthatmuchmorework canbedone(particularlyonquestionsofaudience,purposes,anduses) ondidacticpoemsandproseworksthat"intheirvariousways,cover-- fullyorpartly--theofficialteachingcurriculumforthelaityofthemedievalChurch,"whichincludedtheLord'sPrayerandCreed,thefourteen articlesoffaith,theDecalogue,thetwoevangelicalcommandments,the seven works of mercy, the deadly sins, the principal virtues, and the sacraments. In his study of medieval education, Nicholas Orme has suggested that religious instruction in the late Middle Ages

Journal

Studies in PhilologyUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Jan 13, 2009

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