Aers 2000

From Whiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Justice and Wage-labour after the Black Death: Some Perplexities for William Langland

Aquinas: repentance as allied to justice, a moral virtue without which sin cannot be forgiven (56); justice "regulate human action according to a standard of right reason rendering it good and directing us to our final good (God)" (57)

"Wage-labor suggested to the poet a culture of independence, assertiveness, and anti-authoritarianism." (65)

Meed: all human relations become exchanges in a market for commodities

"In representing Mede as ubiquitous, the poet evokes a community with no boundaries, with no cogent moral principles, with no criteria other than pragmatic response to profit and loss in the market. Here there can be no common project to foster institutions, relations, and laws that could help people cultivate the virtues in pursuit of their final good, as understood by the tradition to which the poet belonged" (66)
  • what would redde quod debes mean to Meed?
"Tyrannical law, [Aquinas] insists, is not truly law because it only serves private interests and harms the people, setting up forms of life at odds with their true end -- the life of the virtues in accord with reason." (67)
  • rebelling against tyrannical government is not illicit, since that government is impeding the citizens' pursuit of the good
"by what principles are we to resolve the competing versions of a just wage, of 'mesurable hire' in the circumstances after the Black Death? Why should we now abandon the guidelines for establishing the just price [free market rules] so lucidly articulated by St. Thomas [...] ?" (69)

John Wyclif's Understanding of Christian Discipleship

Wyclif: all followers should be disciples of Christ, not just priests/friars/monks; maintains a split between Church and Scripture

  • through reason we can grasp Scripture's special logic (122)

Thomas Netter argues against this; says Scripture is not only source of divine law, Holy Church has canonized law, too -- splitting Scripture from Church is like severing limbs from a whole body, splitting bridegroom from bride

  • Christ is head of Holy Church, which gives life to the limbs;
  • how can we believe Christ (the head) if we reject the Church of Christ (the body)? (121)
  • draws on Augustine, who says there can be no authoritative canon or hermeneutics without the authority of the Church (121)

for Wyclif, Jesus' form of life:

"Jesus lived as the most materially estitute of people; and although he enjoyed the universal dominion by grace bestowed on the predestinate, he utterly renounced civil dominion, temporal proprietorship, and worldly violence, violence inextricably bound up by the exercise of civil dominion." (122)

precepts: laid out by Christ as necessary conditions for salvation; counsels: for those that want to do better than just follow the bare minimum

  • Wyclif believed this distinction had no basis in Scripture (126)

at times seems to point towards a priesthood of all believers; but this concept was developed more fully by his later followers than by him (128)

  • he acknowledges that an order of priesthood is founded in Scripture (129)
  • we must all follow Christ's path, Wyclif says, but priests are obligated i na more binding way (130)

leading cleric, the pope, is the vicar of Christ, should follow Christ's form of life; leading layman, the king, is vicar of God

  • pope should be nonviolent, but king must be violent to maintain God's order
  • Mother Church must have secular lords to defend her
  • "so those Christians who particpate in secular power do not, after all, have to follow the path of Jesus" (130)
  • "He models Christ as an offended lord whose wife has been violated and whose kingdom laid to waste: his faithful lieges will know the revenge due to his enemies." (134)

thinks Constantine endowing the Church is poison; thought Christian disciples should reject all secular power; yet he wants the lay elites to use their secular power to disendow the church (internal tensions)

"It is thus clear that far from dissolving the traditional divisions between laity and priests Wyclif maintains it as a fundamental component of both his ecclesiology and his politics." -- he cannot let radical theology cut him off from institutional, cultural, and patronage affiliations (139)

Wyclif believes in the power of kings over sin, heresy (141-2)

scapegoating of priests inadvertently allows most lay Christians to continue their livess unchanged (146-8)' "de-Christianization of the laity" (148)