A View Of The Medieval Christian Church — страница 2

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early medieval Church in England was no different tothat of any other landowner. So, the question that haunted medieval man was that of his own salvation. The existence of Godwas never questioned and the heart-cry of medieval society was a desire toknow God and achieveintimacy with the divine. Leading a life pleasing to God was the uppermostconcern, and the widediversity of medieval piety is simply because people answered the question,’How can I best lead a holylife?’ in so many different ways. Beginning with “The Pardoner’s Tale”, thetheme of salvation is trulyparamount. Chaucer, being one of the most important medieval authors, usesthis prologue and taleto make a statement about buying salvation. The character of the pardoner isone of the mostdespicable pilgrims,

seemingly “along for the ride” to his next “gig” as theseller of relics. “For mynentente is nat but for to winne,/ And no thing for correccion of sinne,”admits the pardoner in hisprologue. As a matter of fact, the pardoner is only in it for the money, asevident from this passage: I wol none of the Apostles countrefete: I wold have moneye, wolle, cheese, and whete, Al were it yiven of the pooreste page, Or of the pooreste widwe in a village — Al sholde hir children sterve for famine. Nay, I drinke licour of the vine And have a joly wenche in every town. In his tale, the Pardoner slips into his role as the holiest of holies andspeaks of the direconsequences of gluttony, gambling, and lechery. He cites Attila the Hunwith, “Looke Attila, thegrete conquerour,/ Deide in

his sleep with shame and dishonour,/ Bleeding athis nose indronkenesse”. The personification of the deadly sins, along with his storyof the three greedymen that eventually perish at the hands of their sin is a distinct medievaldevice. The comic twist thatChaucer adds to the device, though, is that the Pardoner in himself is asthe personification of sin, as isevident from the passages of his prologue. At the conclusion of his tale,the Pardoner asks, “Allas,mankinde, how may it bitide/ That to thy Creatour which that thee wroughte,/And with his preciousherte blood boughte,/ Thou art so fals and unkinde, allas?”. He then goes onto offer eachpilgrim a place…for a price, of course. The Pardoner’s place in Chaucer’s idea of redemption becomes evident inthe epilogue of the

tale. After offering the host the first pardon (”For he is most envoluped insinne” and, supposedly, theequivalent of Chaucer), the host berates the pardoner, saying, “I wolde Ihadde thy coilons inmyn hond,/ In stede of relikes or of saintuarye./ Lat cutte him of”. Bythis, the idea of thepardoner as the most important man on the pilgrimage is brought to fruitionand Chaucer makes themain point of this tale: Salvation is not for sale. Another example of themedieval obsession withredemption. However, some did not accept this and questioned the church — It waswhat they wanted otherthan “a holy life with a Old-Testament God”; That style of thinkingevenually lead to a “more gentle,mother-figure” as a goddess — The Cult of the Virgin. The eminent questionthen becomes,

“Whywould people change from a long-lasting, Old-Testament God to a mother-likegoddess ? The answeris simply because they thought their “new found Goddess” would never be asharsh on people as theoften criticized male like aspect of God. In both current Catholicism andthat of the medieval period,Mary is worshipped with more fervor than even God or Jesus. Church afterchurch was (and still is)erected in her name. Her likeness graced statues and stained glass with asmuch frequency as Jesus’bloody head. The worship of Mary is fervent, institutionalized, and approvedof by the Christian church. Is she not a goddess? Mary simply took the place of the female aspects ofthe spirit that were onceworshipped as Roman or Anglo-Saxon goddesses. The medieval period, stretching

approximately from the late seventhcentury to the early sixteenth,was bound together under one constant–Roman Catholic Christianity. Butbeneath this “curtain ofChristianity” many legends were being formed and passed down, as old pagantraditions becameassimilated into a newly Christian society. The two religious forms werebecoming intertwined. Theyseemed at this time to be tolerant of each other, not entirely distinct. Apeoples habits and thoughtprocesses are not easily changed, and being that the Anglo-Saxons of Britainwere not Christians untilthe mid-600’s, a period of transition can be expected . At least, afascination with their pagan ancestorsexisted, at most, the practice of the old ways. Examples of a fascinationwith magic, worshipping morethan one god-like figure,