Presentation Title

"In myche speche defaute is not absent": Variations on Seen, Heard, and Written Texts in Reginald Pecock's Book of Faith

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Keywords

Medieval, Literature, Lollard, Reginald Pecock, Book of Faith, Faith, Scripture, Verb Tense

Department

English

Major

English Literature and Art History

Abstract

In his Book of Faith, bishop Reginald Pecock (c. 1392-1459) attempts to address heretical beliefs circulating among the common people of fifteenth century England regarding the teachings of John Wycliffe. For the bishop, faith is a verifiable function of religion, and it lies at the intersection of credible testimony and evidence. Although scripture does not occupy a seminal place in Pecock's argument, then, his treatment of the case of Doubting Thomas in the twentieth chapter of John's Gospel reveals a key tension in the bishop's conception of faith. Specifically, the difference between Pecock's gloss of the passage and the biblical text's description of the event suggests that the theologian wrestles with a deeper question of when and how evidence can be virtuously sought. To resolve this anxiety, Pecock rewrites the event and shifts the tense construction of his source text from the present to the past in order to posit that the gathering of evidence for faith, the act of "seeing," is subordinate to the hearing of testimony.

Faculty Mentor

Jennifer A. T. Smith

Funding Source or Research Program

Academic Year Undergraduate Research Initiative

Presentation Session

Session B

Location

Plaza Classroom 189

Start Date

1-4-2016 4:00 PM

End Date

1-4-2016 4:15 PM

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Apr 1st, 4:00 PM Apr 1st, 4:15 PM

"In myche speche defaute is not absent": Variations on Seen, Heard, and Written Texts in Reginald Pecock's Book of Faith

Plaza Classroom 189

In his Book of Faith, bishop Reginald Pecock (c. 1392-1459) attempts to address heretical beliefs circulating among the common people of fifteenth century England regarding the teachings of John Wycliffe. For the bishop, faith is a verifiable function of religion, and it lies at the intersection of credible testimony and evidence. Although scripture does not occupy a seminal place in Pecock's argument, then, his treatment of the case of Doubting Thomas in the twentieth chapter of John's Gospel reveals a key tension in the bishop's conception of faith. Specifically, the difference between Pecock's gloss of the passage and the biblical text's description of the event suggests that the theologian wrestles with a deeper question of when and how evidence can be virtuously sought. To resolve this anxiety, Pecock rewrites the event and shifts the tense construction of his source text from the present to the past in order to posit that the gathering of evidence for faith, the act of "seeing," is subordinate to the hearing of testimony.