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date: 18 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores theological and ethical dimensions of the Eucharist in the later Middle Ages and in the Reformation. The exploration introduces a number of genres and practices, because the Eucharist was a central and pervasive presence in Christian cultures, including those opposing medieval liturgy and teaching. One of the focal points of the study is the emergence of the doctrine and practice of transubstantiation, a language that became enshrined in thirteenth century orthodoxy. The chapter sets out with St. Augustine, who did not know either this doctrine, or the theological questions it sponsored (such as, what happens when a mouse eats the consecrated host), or its practice, together with its rich visionary accompaniments (such as bleeding hosts and manifestations of bleeding parts of the body of Christ or the Infant Jesus). After Augustine, a cluster of medieval writers and performances are addressed. The chapter concludes with commentary on the Reformation, and some rumination of Shakespeare, especially The Tempest.

Keywords: theology, transubstantiation, Eucharist, body of Christ, St. Augustine, Roman Catholic Church, Reformation, Christianity, Guillaume de Deguileville, Le Pèlerinage de Vie Humaine

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