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Title: Body-soul debates in English, French and German manuscripts, c.1200-c.1500
Author: Richards, Emily Jean
ISNI:       0000 0004 2677 5613
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis examines the history of body-soul debates in English, Anglo-Nonnan, Northern French and Gennan from c.1200-1500. Focusing uniquely on the question of contexts rather than origins for the debates, I summarise their roots in apocryphal and pre-Christian myth before turning to close readings of the debates themselves and detailed examinations of their manuscripts. I argue that the various adaptations of the Latin 'Visio Philiberti' should be seen not only within the context of each language's vernacular literature, but also as a reaction to doctrinal changes in Christian theology during the period in which they were written. I also look at how these adaptations reflect the transmission of the debates by the religious orders, and examine the evidence for my argument that each bodysoul debate constructs specific paradigms of body and soul's relationship, focusing in particular on the differences between the hostile debates in England and France on the one side, and the 'friendly' debates in Gennany on the other. Finally, I examine parallel developments in the regulation of vernacular devotional literature in England, France and Germany in the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, using a case study ofBL MS Additional 37049 to argue that these developments are reflected in more repressive and authoritarian adaptations of body-soul debates. Siting this hypothesis within the context of recent discussions of 'vernacular theology', I argue that body-soul debates functioned as literature which sanctioned authoritarian attitudes to vernacular literature and society, while at the same time presenting the possibility of a dialogic response to repressive measures and destabilising the 'topoi' of obedience and subservience that they ostensibly support.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available