Beyond Reformation?: An Essay on William Langland's Piers Plowman and the End of Constantinian Christianity



The essay form that Aers has chosen for his book contributes to the effectiveness of the argument he develops in tandem with the structure of Langland’s poem: he sustains and tests his argument in a series of steps or “passus,” a Langlandian mode of proceeding. His essay unfolds an argument about medieval and early modern forms of Constantinian Christianity and reformation, and the way in which Langland’s own vision of a secularizing, de-Christianizing late medieval church draws him toward the idea of a church of “fools,” beyond papacy, priesthood, hierarchy, and institutions. For Aers, Langland opens up serious diachronic issues concerning Christianity and culture. His essay includes a brief summary of the poem and modern translations alongside the original medieval English. It will challenge specialists on Langland’s poem and supply valuable resources of thought for anyone who continues to struggle with the church of today.

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Attribute NameValues
Document Type
  • Book

Alternate Title
  • Beyond Reformation?

  • David Aers

Date Created
  • 2016-03-15

  • 280 pages

  • 9780268074845

  • 9780268158002

  • University of Notre Dame Press

Publication Date
  • 2015-11-05

  • Piers Plowman

  • Langland

  • Conscience

  • Church

  • Spirit

  • Reformation

Subject (Library of Congress)
  • Literature and society–England–History–To 1500

  • Religion and culture

  • Langland, William, 1330?-1400? Piers Plowman

  • Christian poetry, English (Middle)–History and criticism

  • Religious thought–Middle Ages, 600-1500

  • English

Catalog Record
Record Visibility and Access Public
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University of Notre Dame Press


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