The concept of the Devil's rights is a problematic aspect of the medieval doctrine of the Redemption. This study takes issue with a number of modern assumptions about the place of the Devil in the medieval scheme of the Redemption and how this was presented in theological and vernacular writing. With special reference to literature produced in England, Marx argues for a new hypothesis to explain the persistent interest in the Devil's rights in the middle ages. The approach is interdisciplinary and demonstrates how both vernacular and popular Latin writing in medieval England responded to and absorbed the effects of theological controversy. Use of the concept of the Devil's rights is examined in a number of important texts as well as sermons and narratives of the life of Christ. The picture that emerges is one in which ideas about the Devil's rights find counterparts in popular writing and contribute to the development of the tradition of the debate between Christ and the Devil. C. W. MARXteaches at the Department of English, University of Wales at Lampeter.
The Devil's rights and the doctrine of the redemption (1) - the 12th century controversy and its origins; the Devil's rights and the doctrine of the Redemption (2) - commentaries and encyclopaedic texts; from the "Gospel of Nicodemus" to the "Trials of Satan"; Robert Grosseteste's "Chasteau d'Amour"; the Devil's rights in the vernacular "Gospel of Nicodemus" and instructional writing; "Piers Plowman"; the Middle English mystery plays and the "Cornish Ordinalia"; the Devils' parliament.