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180 Reviews unfamdiar terms which would have made some portions more understandable to the general reader. Nevertheless, it is both innovative in its point of view and immensely readable. Anne Gdmour-Bryson Department of History University of Melbourne Vitto, Cindy L., The virtuous pagan in Middle English literature (Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 79, part 5) Philadelphia, American Philosophical Society, 1989; paper; pp. ii, 100; R. R. P. US$15.00. This monograph is concerned with the theme of possible salvation for those outside the Church. It oudines: the succession of perceptions on solutions to the problem of the virtuous pagans evolved from the first to the fourteenth centuries; views on Christ's descent into Hell to convert the souls H e found there; the concept of Limbo as an intermediate state between bliss and punishment, an idea sanctioned by Aquinas; and Dante's elaborate and schematized cosmological framework in which most of the classical pagans resided. The prerequisites for salvation were deemed by many to be concerned with reason (this allowing salvation for the classical philosophers), or held by others to be concerned with faith alone (so effectively excluding non-Christians). The author stresses the fact that to date there have been very few studies examining the interplay between the theological and the literary treatment of the virtuous pagan. Vitto gives considerable space to the theological views of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and then to the handling of the main theme in Dante and in legend. Thus there is concern to identify the groups free from heU, to explore the fate after death of the Old Testament Fathers, various worthy Jews, children without the capacity for faith and free will, the Muslims, those never in contact with the Christian faith, and the Emperor Trajan (pp. 39-43), to examine the various views of the efficacy of prayers for the dead, and to analyse Dante's choice of Ripheus as a virtuous pagan (pp. 46-48), a victim of the Trojan War and a warrior 'foremost in justice' (Aeneid U, 11.426-427). However, the core of the study is an analysis of the two English authors concerned to relay an important message as to virtuous pagans for both believers and for non-believers. Both realize 'the relative importance of divine grace and human deeds in attaining salvation' (p. 2). St. Erkenwald tells the story of a virtuous pagan, deUberately left behind at Christ's Harrowing of Hell, whde in Piers Plowman, in the Dowel section, the dreamer seeks knowledge of the place of baptism and knowledge of the doctrine of salvation in determining the fate of virtuous pagans. Thus Langland's poem, read as an historical allegory, has as Reviews 181 its climactic scene the Harrowing of Hell (p. 60), as R. W . Chambers had seen in 1924 and H. W . Wells in 1938. As the survey concludes, new insights have been gained into various texts by the identification of the two key themes. Thus, by recognizing that the judge has been deliberately left behind during the Harrowing, w e can recognize Erkenwald as a Christ-surrogate. In Langland's thought, the clergy, unlike Erkenwald, are portrayed as unworthy successors of Christ, and the final Harrowing, Doomsday, is near. In both, grace, indisputable and yet unknowable, is the only answer to the paradox of the virtuous pagan. J. S. Ryan Department of EngUsh University of N e w England Whitney, Elspeth, Paradise restored: the mechanical arts from antiquity through the thirteenth century (Transactions of the American Phdosophical Society, Vol. 80, part 1), Philadelphia, American Philosophical Society, 1990; paper; pp. vi, 169; R. R. P. US$20.00. Since Lynn White published 'Technology and invention in the Middle Ages' in Speculum (1940), the debate on medieval technology has proceeded apace. Today few medievalists would deny that the Middle Ages were a period of remarkable technological advance, particularly the period ca. 1100-1400; even if some of our Renaissance/Early M o d e m colleagues still appear to be unaware of the fact Accompanying research into the actual technology has been an enquiry into the inteUectual milieu of technological innovation and, in particular, a search for the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1832-8334
Print ISSN
0313-6221
Pages
pp. 180-181
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-03
Open Access
No
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