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Christ's poverty in antimendicant debate: book VIII of De Pauperie Salvatoris by Richard Fitzralph, andD William Woodford's Defensorium

Riley, B. (2019) Christ's poverty in antimendicant debate: book VIII of De Pauperie Salvatoris by Richard Fitzralph, andD William Woodford's Defensorium. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

This thesis comprises a study of two fourteenth-century texts, written as part of the mendicant controversy, book VIII of De pauperie Salvatoris by Richard FitzRalph, Archbishop of Armagh, (c. 1300-1360) and its response, Defensorium Fratrum Mendicantium contra Ricardum Armachanum in Octavo Libello de Pauperie Christi, by the English Franciscan friar, William Woodford (c. 1330-c. 1397). It introduces each theologian, speculating why such significant fourteenth-century thinkers are not more widely known to scholars of this period. It briefly explores how contemporary understandings of the practice of mendicancy have become obscured within a historiography which seems reluctant to turn to the works of the critics of the mendicant friars for information. Based on a close-reading of each text, the thesis examines FitzRalph's declaration that Christ did not beg, and Woodford's assertion that he did, noting how each theologian uses scripture, the writings of the Church fathers, those of mendicant theologians, and mobilizes arguments from the classical philosopher, Aristotle, to construct their opposing viewpoints. Focussing especially on discussions about poverty, and about the life and activities of Christ, it suggests that information valuable to social historians is located in these texts, where each theologian constructs their own worldview, and rationalizes their position. Of particular interest is FitzRalph's radical fashioning of Christ as a labouring carpenter, and Woodford's construction of a socio-economic and an anti-semitic argument to disprove it. Finally, the thesis probes the accepted hypothesis that followers of the late fourteenth-century Oxford theologian and heresiarch, John Wyclif, and collectively classified as 'lollards', incorporated wholesale the views of FitzRalph into their own writings. Studying a number of lollard texts, it notes rather a strategic adoption and an equally significant omission, especially concerning FitzRalph's depictions of poverty, and his framing of Christ the carpenter.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Rist, R.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Humanities
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Humanities > History
ID Code:88832

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