Barn of Unity or the Devil's Church? Salvation and Ecclesiology in Langland and the Wycliffites

J. Patrick Hornbeck II

in Medieval Poetics and Social Practice

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780823243242
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823243280 | DOI:

Series: Fordham Series in Medieval Studies (FUP)

Barn of Unity or the Devil's Church? Salvation and Ecclesiology in Langland and the Wycliffites

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J. Patrick Hornbeck's contribution considers the relationship between the twentieth-century Jesuit priest and cardinal Avery Robert Dulles, on the one hand, and the fourteenth-century writers William Langland and John Wyclif, on the other. He illuminates their shared investment – despite their many differences – in ecclesiological accounts that give “preference to a communion model of the church over an institutional one.” By including in his essay a theologian whose father was a U. S. Secretary of State, Hornbeck reminds us of another interesting element of Penn's career. With its combination of Jesuit affiliation and inside-the-Beltway location, Georgetown University has always been deeply concerned with questions about the relationship between statehood and religion. Within this frame, Hornbeck considers the implications of a communal model of the church. Specifically, Langland and Wyclif felt a responsibility to recognize a “rustic rather than corporate” social reality in their ecclesiologies, and they expressed this view in opposition to a political climate that increasingly attempted to assert the church's institutional power.

Keywords: Wyclif; Lollard; Avery Robert Dulles; Ecclesiology; Church communities; Poetics; medieval

Chapter.  8226 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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