Gesture of Perception: The Pattern of Kneeling in Piers Plowman B.
Kneeling is the center of a pattern of verbal repetition in B.19, a pattern initiated in the previous passus where Longinus’s kneeling acknowledges his submission before the now-recognized Lord, represents knightly behavior before a triumphant knight, and expresses Longinus’s new power of physical and spiritual sight. As such, it expresses the doctrine of the Fall and Redemption, the Church’s superseding the authority of the Synagogue, and the power of the Eucharist. In B.19 the representation of kneeling concords with flectantur of Philippians 2:10 (translated in B.19.17-18) and is animated by that verse’s immediate context, Philippians 2:5-11. B. 18-19 almost certainly refers to the Easter Mass, and the liturgy of Holy Week is shown to contain numerous references to Longinus, the removal of a veil, the gesture of kneeling, and the passage from Philippians.