John Mirk's Festial

February 2006
176 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843840015
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
BISAC HIS015000, HIS037010

John Mirk's Festial

Orthodoxy, Lollardy and the Common People in Fourteenth-Century England

Judy Ann Ford

First full analysis of John Mirk's Festial, of particular importance for the evidence it offers for the debate over medieval heresy and orthodoxy.
`Marvellously perceptive and insightful'. FIONA SOMERSET, Duke University.Written with largely uneducated rural congregations in mind, John Mirk's Festial became the most popular vernacular sermon collection of late-medieval England, yet until relatively recently it has been neglected by scholars -- despite the fact that the question of popular access to the Bible, undoubtedly regarded as the preserve of learned culture, along with the related issue of the relative authority of written text and tradition, is at the heart of both late-medieval heresy and the resultant reformulation of orthodoxy. It offers, in fact, an unparalleled opportunity to analyze the religious ideology communicated by the orthodox church to the vast majority of people in fourteenth-century England: the ordinary country folk. This book represents the first major examination of the Festial, looking in particular at the issues of popular culture and piety; the oral tradition; biblical and secular authority; and clerical power.

JUDY ANN FORD is Associate Professor in the History Department of Texas A&M University-Commerce.

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The Festial has not received the attention it deserves. Ford is to be commended for producing a full-length study and for raising important issues. JOURNAL OF ENGLISH AND GERMANIC PHILOLOGY
[A] careful and insightful analysis [which] should be of interest to those studying late medieval Christianity and the Reformation because of Mirk's impact on late medieval local religious practice. SIXTEENTH CENTURY JOURNAL A much-needed addition to the critical canon on (il)literacy, rebellion, orthodoxy, and heresy.[...]An important book because it both addresses a neglected, yet critical, sermon collection and because it offers a new and compelling portrait of what constituted orthodoxy in late medieval England.[...]It will be of interest to scholars interested in a wide range of areas: literacy, pre-Reformation England, political rebellion, and hagiography. COMITATUS