- Item'God ... is best known by our not knowing': Ben Jonson's Theological Diffidence(The Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (SASMARS), 2015)Ben Jonson is not traditionally considered diffident: this paper argues that, in his theology, he was diffident, unwilling to move beyond the traditions and authorities common to the Catholic and Anglican churches. Jonson’s comments on theological matters in Discoveries bear this out, and show that he did not consider that the church should disrupt the political commonwealth. Jonson’s views on Puritans, expressed in Discoveries and satirically presented in The Alchemist, and Bartholomew Fair, emphasise his distrust of those who claim to know God’s will and place revelation above tradition in theology. Jonson’s few religious poems can be shown to be heavily dependent on scriptural and traditional liturgical sources; the paper concludes by analysing the sources of ‘To Heaven’ and ‘The Sinners Sacrifice: To the Holie Trinitie’, illustrating Jonson’s diffident dependence on tradition and unwillingness to engage in theological speculation or innovation.
- ItemThe Black St Maurice of Magdeburg and the African Christian Kingdoms in Nubia and Ethiopia in the Thirteenth Century(The Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (SASMARS), 2015)This study examines the connections between the Black Saint Maurice of Magdeburg and the Christian kingdoms in Nubia and Ethiopia. The depiction of Saint Maurice signifies a new approach to the concept of blackness in medieval imagery. The question is this is related to the familiarity that started developing between the Latins and the Eastern Christians in the 13th century. By analysing the relations between Papacy and Nubia’s church, the legends of Prester John, and the struggle between Pope and Frederick of Hohenstaufen, the study concludes that Saint Maurice of Magdeburg is indirectly associated with Christian Nubia. The Black Saint Maurice evidently underlined Frederick’s aspirations to present himself as the only protector of the Christian world. The Eastern Christians were integrated in this world without the stigma of heresy that Pope had imputed on them. The same stigma was attributed to Frederick as well. Therefore the Black Saint Maurice was his provocative response to the papal see.
- ItemChamberlayne's Pharonnida: The First English Verse Novel(The Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (SASMARS), 2015)This article seeks to explain George Saintsbury’s and W. MacNeile Dixon’s enigmatic categorization of William Chamberlayne’s Pharonnida (1659) as a verse novel, by elaborating the relation of Pharonnida with the ancient Greek prose novels, especially the Aethiopica of Heliodorus. Pharonnida imitates the Aethiopica quite closely: it is comparably long and its plot follows the ancient formula in which a pair of nobly-born young lovers manage to remain faithful to each other during a scarcely credible proliferation of adventures, including imprisonment, rescue, enslavement, disguise, and kidnapping by pirates and robbers. Whereas the Aethiopica is set in its own contemporary world, Pharonnida is set in a past resembling the present of the Aethiopica. Chamberlayne compensates for non-novelistic lack of contemporaneity by including some contemporary authorial comments and autobiographical episodes. The only significant generic difference is that Pharonnida is composed in verse. If the ancient popular written narratives are indeed prose novels, then Pharonnida can surely be claimed as a verse novel since it is so close a reading of Aethiopica.
- ItemA Tale of 'synne and harlotries'? The Miller's Tale as Social Ideology(The Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (SASMARS), 2015)This article provides a detailed discussion of how romance tropes are parodied in the Miller’s Tale in order to pose a social challenge to the Knight’s Tale and in order to reject the vertical view of social relations which romance tales traditionally uphold. Through a comprehensive investigation of this issue, the article illustrates Paul Strohm’s argument that the clash between the romance genre of the Knight’s Tale and the fabliau genre of the Miller’s Tale symbolically reflects the tension between two different ideologies simultaneously present within Chaucer’s society. The Miller’s fabliau tale is shown to express a mercantile outlook of calculation in one’s own interest that was becoming more prominent in the increasingly commercial world of late fourteenth-century England, as opposed to the feudal view of social relations which is found in the Knight’s Tale.
- ItemWhy was it Important for the Byzantines to Read Latin? The Views of Demetrios Kydones (1324-1398)(The Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (SASMARS), 2015)Fourteenth-century Byzantium witnessed civil wars between cliques of the ruling elite, constant financial crisis and dramatic territorial reduction. It evolved into a small state which struggled to survive and defend itself against a large number of hostile neighbours, some of whom possessed military forces far superior to those of Byzantium. In the 1350s and1360s the Ottoman Turks began the conquest of European territories that belonged to the Byzantine empire. Realizing that it was impossible to face the Ottomans militarily, many Byzantines supported the idea of a Crusade against the Ottomans and the union of the Orthodox and the Catholic Churches. A staunch supporter of this policy was the prolific author and politician Demetrios Kydones. This article will discuss how Kydones promoted the policy of reconciliation and alliance with Western European powers against the Ottomans.