Purity, a fourteenth century penitential sermon

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Mary Sue Dye (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Charles Tisdale

Abstract: This study analyzes Purity as a fourteenth century penitential sermon which is representative of its age. It hypothesizes that the Pearl-poet followed the medieval techniques of sermon construction and that the work 1s probably based on II Peter 2. The thesis examines Purity on three levels. It is first studied in accordance with the form of the University sermon. The introduction is divided into three segments: the pronouncement of theme, the protheme, and the repetition of the principal theme. The body is noted to contain three major exempla and six minor exempla, and the work concludes with a seven line exhortation to purity. Second, the poem is compared to II Peter 2 of the Douay Bible. Comparison reveals that the poet probably used this Biblical text as the outline for his sermon, deviating only when he found it necessary to draw on other stories for additional exempla. Third, the work is interpreted to be a fourteenth century verse homily stressing the necessity for penance and reinforcing the importance of spiritual cleanness. In the final conclusion the penitential nature of the medieval sermon is emphasized. The thesis affirms that the Lateran Council of 1215 and the advent of the preaching friar are two factors instrumental in the evolution of the lyrical sermon and penitential literature so popular in the fourteenth century. Purity is recognized as a product of these historical events.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1973
Bible $x In literature
Sermons $x History

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