- Cultural Reformations
- List of Illustrations
- List of Abbreviations
- List of Contributors
- National Histories
- Literary Histories
- Enclosed Spaces
- The Eucharist
- The Saints
- Vernacular Theology
- When English Became Latin
- Heresy and Treason
- Naughty Printed Books
- Utopian Pleasure
- Poetic Fame
- London Books and London Readers
- The Reformation of the Household
- Active and Contemplative Lives
- Autobiography and the History of Reading
Abstract and Keywords
The question of the Church’s location became a central issue of the Protestant Reformation: was it the material, visible Church containing the saved and the damned (as yet unable to be distinguished), or the immaterial, invisible Church of the Elect? This little noticed but hugely significant issue preoccupied Reformation theorists, but already in the late fourteenth century writers were conscious of it. Pilgrimage narratives, particularly narratives in which the visible, located Church’s relics are exposed as disgusting, exploitative and fake, underline the fragilities of the “located” Church. This essay defines the theological issue of place, and then sees how it works in practice with two Canterbury pilgrimage texts, Chaucer’s Pardoner’s Tale and Desiderius Erasmus’s Pilgrimage of Pure Devotion.
James Simpson is Donald P. and Katherine B. Loker Professor of English at Harvard University (2004–). Formerly Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English at the University of Cambridge, he is an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He was educated at Scotch College Melbourne, and the Universities of Melbourne and Oxford. His most recent books are Reform and Cultural Revolution, being volume 2 in the Oxford English Literary History (Oxford University Press, 2002), Burning to Read: English Fundamentalism and its Reformation Opponents (Harvard University Press, 2007), and Under the Hammer: Iconoclasm in the Anglo-American Tradition (Oxford University Press, 2010).
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