From Reason to Affective Knowledge: Modes of Thought and Poetic Form in Piers Plowman.
PPl reflects the Augustinian tradition, exemplified by Alexander of Hales and Robert Kilwardby, in which theology is seen as an affective mode of knowledge, a sapientia, rather than an intellectual mode, or scientia, and in which such cognitive categories are linked to rhetorical modes. The Meed narrative (B.2-4), concerned with intellectual comprehension and the problem of distinguishing meaning, exemplifies styles appropriate to the exercise of reason (e.g. difinitivus, divisivus, collectivus), whereas from passus 12 on, when Imaginatif declares grace beyond the cognitive reach of Clergy or Kind Wit, the modes of poetry employed (e.g. symbolicus, metaphoricus, parabolicus) aim to produce a sapiential knowledge of God, in appealing to the will.