The Devil's Rights and The Redemption in the Literature of Medieval England

November 1995
4 black and white illustrations
196 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9780859914550
Format: Hardback
Library eBook

The Devil's Rights and The Redemption in the Literature of Medieval England

C.W. Marx

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A study of the theory of the devil's rights in relation to medieval theology of the redemption, as this is treated in the popular literature of medieval England.
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. MARX teaches at the Department of English, University of Wales at Lampeter.

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A very valuable study... a work of solid traditional scholarship. SPECULUM

A dense and closely argued book, persuasive especially in its close readings of theological and literary evidence. ALBION

Marx is good at expounding complex theology lucidly. NOTES AND QUERIES

Thoughtful and engaging, challenging and argumentative... a fresh and necessary starting point for future enquiries into the theolotical backgrounds of vernacular writing. JOURNAL OF MEDIEVAL LATIN

Important study... the subtlety and erudition of the author's survey of doctrine is illustrated by generous quotations translated with admirable lucidity. MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW