The State of the Ark: A Metaphor in Bromyard and Piers Plowman B.X.396-401.
The use of Noah’s ark as metaphor (based on I Peter 3:20) in B.10 and C.11 combines elements found in the Glossa ordinaria (cf. Matthew 24:3 7-39) -the ark as symbol of the Church -and in John Bromyard’s Summa predicantium (1323-54), where the builders of the ark are likened to sinful preachers whose teachings can help others but who themselves perish. Whereas Bromyard stresses the responsibility of those who hear the word, WL turns back the topic to salvation, as in I Peter. Changing the speaker of these lines from Will in B to Recklessness in C turns the passage from a direct challenge of Scripture to an attack on the sinful preachers themselves.