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Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Toronto, 2007.
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 69-06, Section: A, page: .
While a range of religious works written for lay-folk in late medieval England are prefaced by the author's hesitance to add to the growing "multitude of bokes and tretees drawne in englische,"1 the surviving works of Reginald Pecock boldly announce that they are the only necessary books for both lay and religious audiences, and furthermore, that they must be studied daily. This dissertation points to the ambitious nature of Pecock's comprehensive program for lay education, investigating the reasons why Pecock felt so strongly about the need for his rational, philosophical texts among pious lay readers. The first two chapters examine continuities between the sophisticated religious prose of the late fourteenth century and Pecock's corpus in terms of the way that these works sought to influence the pious laity through instruction on devotional practices: these chapters work from the understanding that critical focus on Pecock's rational approach to lay religion has obscured his commitment to challenging lay readers to develop spiritual practices rooted in both stirring the affect and stimulating the intellect. Chapter three analyzes Pecock's position on the controversial issue of lay Bible reading, highlighting his efforts to draw readers away from the Lollard textual community into a new community structured around the authoritative book of reason. Chapter four focuses on the relations that Pecock envisions between members of this textual community: Pecock's vision of friendship, love, and "felawlik comunycacioun" 2 between clergy and laity in his imagined textual community is situated within a range of late fourteenth- and fifteenth-century ideas about how to define proper relations between the clergy and laity at a time when knowledge and learning is passing out of the hands---and the control---of the trained clergy and into the hands of the untrained laity. The fifth chapter studies Pecock's views on the best way to educate the lay reader to ensure the most stability, spiritual profit, and harmony within the community, focusing on the way Pecock structures his works to facilitate the integration of various groups in the community through the progress and evolution of the lay reader.1 "Orologium Sapientiae or The Seven Poyntes of Trewe Wisdom aus MS Douce 114," ed. Karl Horstmann, Anglia 10 (1887) 326. 2 Reginald Pecock,The Folewer to the Donet, ed. Elsie Vaughan Hitchcock (EETS o.s. 164, London: Oxford University Press, 1924, New York: Kraus Reprint, 1981) 8.