The relationship between versions of the late medieval Church, faith, ethics and the lay powers, as explored in a range of late fourteenth- and early fifteenth-century texts written in England, is the subject of this book. It argues that they disclose strikingly diverse models of Christian discipleship, and examines the sources and consequences of such differences. Issues investigated include whether the Church could shape modern communities and individual identities, and how it could combine its status as a major landlord and trader without being assimilated by the various networks of earthly power and profit. The book begins with Chaucer's treatment of received versions of faith, ethics and the Church, and moves via St Thomas, Ockham, Nicholas Love, Gower, the Gawain-poet and Langland (who pursues the issues with particular intensity and focus) to Wyclif's construal of Christian discipleship in relation to his projected reform of the Church. Interdisciplinary in approach, the book will be of interest to all those studying late medieval Christianity and literature. David Aers is Professor of English and Professor of Historical Theology at Duke University.
Faith, ethics and communities; faith, ethics and Chaucer; justice and wage-labour after the Black Death - some perplexities for William Langland; Christianity for courtly subjects - or Pelagius Redivivus; reflections on Gower as "Sapiens in ethics and politics"; John Wyclif's understanding of Christian discipleship.