Title Background

The Chains of Charity: <i>Piers Plowman</i> B.5.607 and Hosea 11:4

The Chains of Charity: Piers Plowman B.5.607 and Hosea 11:4

“The Chains of Charity: Piers Plowman B.5.607 and Hosea 11:4″ argues that Hosea 11:4 is a source for the somewhat enigmatic depiction of St. Truth in passus 5 of the B text of PPl: “thow shalt see in thiselve Treuthe sitte in thine herte/ In a cheyne of charyté as thow a childe were.” Hosea 11:4 offers a compelling source in the way it describes Israel as a child yoked to God by the chains of charity (“vincula caritatis”), suggesting that the “cheyne” in PPl may not be a chain of office (as some have claimed), but rather an ontological connection to God. The essay explores this idea in dialogue with Augustine’s use of the phrase “vinculum caritatis” in his Tractates in Iohannem, which describes the Eucharist as the “sacramentum caritatis,” figuring Christ’s body as the bond of love that connects God to man. The end of the pilgrimage L describes in passus 5 of PPl, then, is nothing less than a loving union with God through membership in the body of Christ, a powerful image of authentic charity that anticipates the poem’s later development of the idea. (BDW)