Tower and Tabernacle: The Architecture of Heaven and the Language of Dwelling with / in God in the B-Text of Piers Plowman
Of the two architectural images used in PPl for heaven, that of the tower was understood as a high structure suggesting spatial enclosure and defense; its situation in the east and “heigh to the sun” suggests the literal orientation of towered churches from which sinners could glimpse the heavenly kingdom and, more metaphorically, enjoy a symbolic orientation to Christ the “Sun of Justice.” The words “Truþe is þerinne” invoke Psalm 60, where God is “a tower of strength against the face of the enemy.” The other image, the tabernaculum, derives from Psalm 14:1 (cf. B.2.38-39; 3.234a-36; 7.52a; and 13.126-27). Medieval commentaries interpret tabernaculum as church and as God, particularly relevant since PPl often uses the language of indwelling, as in 5.486b and 9.65a (cf. I John 4:16), where the loving person is said to dwell in God, and God in the person.