Title Background

The Trinity in Langland and Abelard.

The Trinity in Langland and Abelard.

The figure of the writing lord, parchment, and pen of B.9.39-41 and that of B. 16.191-93 are both trinitarian analogues that derive from the twelfth-century Victorine tradition of describing the Trinity with respect to the nonexclusive aspects of Potentia, Sapientia, and Benignitas. In particular, Abelard’s figure of a lute player (Intro. ad theol., PL 178:1068-75), in which music is created from art (the power of playing, or the Father’s Potentia), hand (the instrumental agent, i.e. the Son’s Sapientia), and the strings (musical effects of art and hands together, i.e. the effecta of the Spirit), provides a paradigm of Langland’s figures. In B. 16.191-93, might refers to the Father, seruant to Christ, mene to the Holy Spirit. In B.9.39-41 the lord’s power of writing is the creative power of Deus artifex; the pen represents agency, or the Son; and the parchment with letters the effect of the combined action of Father and Son, or Benignitas secundum effecta of the Spirit.


Groos et al., Magister Regis, 207-16.

Cross Reference



Szittya, Penn R.