Et Vidit Cogitaciones Eorum’: A Parallel Instance and Possible Source for Langland’s Use of a Biblical Formula at Piers Plowman B.XV.200a.
B. 15.149-212 (Schmidt) probably shows the direct influence of Augustine, De Trinitate 15, which elucidates the Pauline aenigma (I Cor. 13:4-5) as that through which mankind’s imperfect understanding perceives in the soul the imago Dei. Augustine defines thought as inner speech (locutiones cordis) and sees in such unspoken words a likeness to the Word of God. To Augustine, Christ alone is able to perceive the words of the heart (see Matt. 9:24, Luke 5:21-22); Langland presents Piers as capable of such perception. In order to know charity in himself, Will must discover the principle by which he is known, “which is provisionally Piers, and ultimately Christ.”
N&Q ns 33 (1986): 9-13.