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Title: The influence of the biblical Apocalypse upon Julian of Norwich's 'Revelations of Love' and William Langland's 'Piers Plowman'
Author: Byron-Davies, Justin M.
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis fills a gap in knowledge by systematically identifying ways in which Julian of Norwich’s 'Revelations of Love' and William Langland’s 'Piers Plowman' were influenced by the biblical Apocalypse and exegetical writings. It considers the implications of areas of confluence such as spiritual warfare and other salient thematic elements of the Apocalypse which both writers reapply and emphasise. It contends that the exegetical approach to the Apocalypse is more extensive in Julian’s 'Revelations' and more sophisticated in 'Piers Plowman' than previously thought, whether through primary or secondary textual influences. The thesis explores concepts of authority and medieval interpretations of the Apocalypse within the orthodoxy versus heterodoxy debate. It considers Julian’s explications of her vision of the soul as city of Christ and all believers – the fulcrum of her eschatologically-focussed Aristotelian and Augustinian influenced pneumatology. It explores the liberal soteriology implicit in her Parable of the Lord and the Servant in its Johannine and Scotistic Christological emphasis, the Bernadine influenced concept of the Motherhood of God, the absent vision of hell, and the eschatological ‘grete dede’, vis-à-vis a possible critique of the prevalent hermeneutic. It contextualises Julian’s writing by considering contemporaneous Apocalypse-influenced women writers such as Marguerite Porete and Margery Kempe. The thesis argues that Langland transposes Apocalypse 1-17 onto fourteenth-century England as a loose template for his own apocalypse. It considers his poetics with reference to Bakhtinian theoretical concepts which Langland employs within nuanced re-applications of the Apocalypse. It explores the agrarian metaphor and apocalyptic imagery in the poem’s opening, and the innovative employment of the allegorical dream vision genre. In discussing Langland’s apocalyptic dreams’ openings and personifications it highlights his re-imaginings of sections of the Apocalypse, arguing that the didactic oraculum of his personification, Lady Holy Church, bears similarities with Apocalypse 2-3. It reconsiders Lady Meed as Whore of Babylon and Langland’s evocation of the Antichristus Mysticus comparable to the perceived threat to the nascent Christian community in the Apocalypse.
Supervisor: Watt, Diane Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available