Title Background

<i>Salvation and Sin: Augustine Langland, Langland, and Fourteenth-Century Theology</i>

Salvation and Sin: Augustine Langland, Langland, and Fourteenth-Century Theology

A very thorough reconsideration of L’s supposedly ‘semi-Pelagian’ or ‘Augustinian’ salvation theology is the centerpiece of this book: chapter four, ‘Remembering the Samaritan, Remembering Semyuief’, provides a new account of salvation, sin, and agency in PPl C. Aers focuses on L’s version of the parable of the Samaritan in C.19, which he compares with the interpretations of Aquinas, Nicholas of Gorran, Nicholas of Lyra, Denis the Carthusian, and Augustine. But he also addresses episodes in the poem that this one ‘correct[s] and supersede[s]’: Will’s encounter with two friars in C.10, Piers’s attempt to advise the pilgrims in C.7, the confessions of Gluttony and Sloth in C.6-7, Piers’s attempt to build a Christian polity in C.8, the pardon of C.9, Will’s encounter with Reason and Conscience, in C.5, the failure of Eucharistic unity in C.21, and the crucifixion and harrowing of hell in C.20. Finally, Aers reconsiders whether the episode of Trajan in C.12 demonstrates L’s ‘semi-Pelagianism’, as has been claimed. It does not: ‘the episode of Trajan should be understood as pointing beyond itself to the later Christological and Trinitarian narratives’ (p. 126). Chapters one, two, and three, on Augustine, Ockham, and Bradwardine respectively, develop an account of the theologies amongst which L is working, while chapter five on Julian presents and critiques her alternative account of salvation and sin: ‘Her hollowing out of the language and theology of sin, together with her treatment of human agency, has a series of consequences that unravel central strands of the Christian doctrine of reconciliation’ (p. 170).

Rev. by:
  • Rev. by Marleen Cré, Review of English Studies, 61 (2010), 457-60; 
  • Fritz Kemmler, The Medieval Review, 10.01.15 (http://hdl.handle.net/2022/6699); 
  • A. V. C. Schmidt, Medium Ævum, 79 (2010), 323-24; 
  • James Simpson, YLS, 24 (2010), 205-09
  • C. Baker, CHOICE, 47 (2009), 485; 
  • Kantik Ghosh, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 62 (2011), 600-01; 
  • R. James Goldstein, JEGP: Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 110 (2011), 259-62; 
  • David Lyle Jeffrey, Modern Theology, 26 (2010), 689-91; 
  • Kirk R. MacGregor, Sixteenth Century Journal, 41 (2010), 1278-79; 
  • Paul J. Patterson, Journal of British Studies, 50 (2011), 715-16; 
  • Mary Raschko, Journal of Medieval Religious Cultures, 37 (2011), 74-78; 
  • Anne M. Scott, Parergon, 28.1 (2011), 269-70; 
  • Nicholas Watson, Speculum, 86 (2011), 151-53; 
  • Joseph Wiebe, Direction, 39 (2010), 297-98.
  • Richard Newhauser, Studies in the Age of Chaucer, 34 (2012), 359-61


Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2009


Aers, David