1. There are at least fifty-five mentions of heaven (or the heavenly paradise or its metaphors,
English or Latin) in Piers Plowman: the B Version, ed. George Kane and E. Talbot
Donaldson (London, 1975): Pro. 27, 99, 105-6, 127; I.9, 111, 132, 151, 159, 205; II.2, 33;
III.50, 72; V.272; VI.46, 220; VII.12, 31; IX.102, 104, 120; X.305, 341, 347, 392, 460a; XI.81;
XII.40, 196; XIII.118a, 142; XIV.129, 141, 151, 154, 165, 210, 212, 215, 215a, 261; XV.175,
407, 458; XVI.118, 208, 222; XVIII.397; XIX.61, 80a, 191; XX.194, 270, 276. Some of the
research for this essay was supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
2. E.g., "god of heuene" (XV.407); "lord of heigh heuene" (XVI.118); "Anoon after an
into heuene / He wente, and wonyeþ þere, and wol come at þe laste"
3. Morton Bloomfield, "Piers Plowman" as a Fourteenth-Century Apocalypse (New
Brunswick, N.J., 1961), p. 37.
4. Kolve has shown the value of studying "images in their iconographic identity, that is, in
relation to similar images in literature and the visual arts; and these images in their contextual
identity, that is, in relation to the narrative by which they are communicated." V. A. Kolve,
Chaucer and the Imagery of Narrative (London, 1984), p. 72. As M. E. J. Hughes points
out, Langland is "a synthesizer of the well-established associations--both metaphoric and
literal--of everyday objects." "`The Feffement that Fals hath ymaked': A Study of the Image of
the Document in "Piers Plowman" and Some Literary Analogues," Neuphilologische
Mitteilungen 93 (1992), 125.
5. All quotations from Piers Plowman are from the Kane-Donaldson edition, 1975
(above, n. 1).
6. V. A. Kolve, "Man in the Middle: Art and Religion in Chaucer's Friar's Tale," Studies
the Age of Chaucer 12 (1990), 24. Kolve explores a cosmological paradigm with heaven on
one side, hell on the other, and earth in the middle, but his words on the "theological landscape"
apply equally to Langland's version of the paradigm, with three layers, one above the other.
7. Kolve, Chaucer, p. 68.
8. Kolve, Chaucer, p. 2.
9. "Tower," I.1, OED 18: 317.
10. N. J. Goode, East Anglian Round Towers and their Churches (Lowestoft,
"The Saxon Chronicle states that King Athelstan made a law in 937 that a Bell Tower should be
built on the land of every thegn" (p. 1). According to Goode, Saxon towers were frequently built
on to existing churches (p. 9).
11. Jonathan Alexander and Paul Binski, eds., Age of Chivalry: Art in Plantagenet
1200-1400 (London, 1987), p. 506.
12. David Hult, "Author/Narrator/Speaker: the Voice of Authority in Chretien's
Charrete," in The New Medievalism, ed. Kevin Brownlee, Marina Brownlee,
Stephen Nichols (Baltimore, 1991), p. 86.
13. In James Simpson's interpretation of Pro. 13-17, the `tour' is a "castle (`tour'
sense 2) part of a spatial set, overlooking an agricultural space and a `dongeon.' The kind of
society implied by this cluster is a feudal society, localised in its manorial form": James Simpson,
Piers Plowman: an Introduction to the B-Text (London, 1990) p. 33. However, the
tour' in Piers Plowman is as likely to be attached or juxtaposed to a church as to be
associated with a castle.
14. H. G. Leask, St. Patrick's Rock, Cashel (Dublin, n.d.), p. 17.
15. Leask, St. Patrick's, p. 17.
16. Nicola Coldstream, "The Kingdom of Heaven: Its Architectural Setting," in Alexander
Binski, eds., Age of Chivalry, p. 92.
17. London, British Library, MS Add. 47680, fol. 42r; Holkham Bible Picture
W. O. Hassall, 2nd ed. (London, 1954).
18. Tamora M. Green, "Towers," Encyclopedia of Religion, ed. Mircea Eliade
York, 1987), 14: 583.
19. The OED cites Lofsong in Ctt. Hom. 207, Cursor Mundi 418
and Early English Allit. Poetry A965). "Tower," I. 2b, OED 18: 317.
20. V. Leroquais. Les Psautiers Manuscrits Latins des Bibliothèques Publiques
France (Mâcon, 1940-41), pl. 109.
21. Jacques Guillet, Themes of the Bible, trans. Albert J. La Mothe, Jr. (Notre
1960), pp. 34-35. See also Raymond E. Brown, The Epistles of St. John, Anchor Bible
30 (Garden City, N. Y., 1982), who notes, "The Hebrew word for `truth' (`emet) is
related to a root ('mn) that conveys the notion of firmness or solidity as a basis for
trustworthy acceptance" (p. 199).
22. "Turris fortitudinis a facie inimici," which the Yorkshire metrical psalm translates as
ofe strenghte fra face of faa," Psalm 60.3, Yorkshire Writers, ed. Carl Horstman, 2 vols.
(London, 1896), 2: 191. Greta Hort mentions three Biblical precedents for "God as living in a
tower" (Proverbs 18:10, Psalm 60 (V):3-4, and Psalm 121:7), as well as similar metaphors in
Rolle's work. See Hope Emily Allen, ed., The English Writings of Richard Rolle, Hermit of
Hampole (Oxford, 1931), pp. 40, 41. See Greta Hort, Piers Plowman and Contemporary
Religious Thought (London, 1936), p. 78. Buildings are figural, as events are, so that, for
example, Mary, who is often painted by fifteenth-century artists within a tower (e.g.,
Master of Liesborn Annunciation, National Gallery 256), is a tower in the litany of
Loretto (end of the twelfth century): "Tower of David . . . tower of ivory." See G. G.
Meersseman, O. P., Der Hymnos Akathistos im Abendland, 2 vols. (Fribourg, 1960), 2:
23. "The term . . . was used in the Latin VSS to render indiscriminately the . . . goats' hair
and the . . . `booth' . . . of the Hebrews . . . [cf. OED 1] also . . . the . . . `dwelling' of the
priestly writers." A. R. S. Kennedy, "Tabernacle," A Dictionary of the Bible, ed. James
Hastings and J. A. Selbie (New York, 1909), pp. 653, 655.
24. The other two texts (besides II. 38-39 and III. 234a-236b, quoted in the essay) are: (1)
Domine, quis habitabit in tabernaculo tuo (VII. 52a); (2) And no text ne takeþ to
mayntene his cause / But Dilige deum and Domine quis habitabit (XIII.126-7).
25. 'Wone' sb. 2, OED. The other world in "Sir Orfeo" has "wide wones / Al of
stones" (365-66), and the author observes, "Bi al þing him þink þat it is /
þe proude court of Paradis" (375-76). "Sir Orfeo," A Book of Middle English, ed.
J. A. Burrow and Thorlac Turville-Petre (Oxford, 1992), pp. 122-23.
26. W. W. Skeat, ed., Vision of William, 2 vols. (New York, 1978), 2: 465. As
of art are aware, by Langland's time a familiar English translation of tabernaculum,
unrelated to these Biblical meanings, was "tabernacle," which meant "An ornate canopied
structure, as a tomb or shrine; . . . a canopied niche or recess in a wall or pillar, to contain an
image; . . . a canopy" (OED `tabernacle' 4). Such structures were popular in the buildings
of the late fourteenth-century, but Langland avoids any suggestion of them by avoiding the
English word `tabernacle.'
27.Biblia Sacra juxta Vulcatam Clementinam, ed. Faculty of Theology, Praris and
Seminary of S. Sulpice (Rome, 1947).
28. A. V. C. Schmidt, "Introduction," The Vision of Piers Plowman (London,
29. Schmidt, "Introduction," p. xviii.
30. Alanus de Insulis, "Distinctiones Dictionum Theologicalium," PL 210: 963-66.
31. For example, in a 13th-century German manuscript she is
greeted, "Ave, templum fidei facta
tabernaculum summe maiestatis" (Hail, temple of the faith, become the home of the supreme
majesty), Meersseman, Der Hymnos, p. 165.
32. Horstman, Yorkshire, p. 158. "In die malorum protexit
me in abscondito tabernaculi
sui" ("in the day of evil he will keep me safe in the hidden place of his tabernacle").
33. Worcester, Worcester Cathedral Library, MS F158, fol. 26r.
34. London, British Library, MS Harley 5289, fol. 474v; MS Harley 2787, fol. 151v.
Missal, Common of the Dedication of a Church, e.g., St. Joseph Daily Missal, ed. Hugo
Hoever, (New York, 1957), p. 1217
35. Paul Crossley, "English Gothic Architecture," in Alexander and Binski, eds., Age of
Chivalry, p. 67. See also Coldstream, "Kingdom of Heaven," p. 92.
36. Worcester, Worcester Cathedral Library, MS F158, fol. 26r.
37. Brown, Epistles, p. 283.
38. St. Augustine, Homilies on the Gospel of John, . . . on the First Epistle of John,
Soliloquies, Tractate 76.4, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, ed. Philip
Schaf. 14 vols. (New York, 1888), 7: 338. In another homily, Augustine observes, "Thou art
preparing a place both for Thyself in us, and for us in Thee. For Thou hast said, `Abide in me,
and I in you.'" (Tractate 68.3 [7: 324]). Nevill Coghill interpreted "truþe" in V.605-8 as a
personification of integrity or faithfulness, as it is, for example, in I. 97 and XII. 287: "The
Character of Piers Plowman," Medium Ævum 2 (1933), 115. Others
interpret it as a name for God, e.g., T. P. Dunning, Piers Plowman (Dublin, 1937), pp.
123-27; Guy Bourquin, Piers Plowman, 2 vols. (Paris, 1978), 52-63, and A. V. C.
Schmidt, ed., The Vision of Piers Plowman (New York, 1978), p. 320. See Hort,
Religious Thought, p. 81. Besides the tenderness of the language, which suggests
personal presence, another argument for reading "true" here as "God" is that lines 609-615 say
that sin drives the sinner, not true, from the heart. If true personified virtue, it
should be driven out by sin.
39. Julian of Norwich, A Book of Showings to the Anchoress Julian of Norwich,
Text 22.1-14, ed. Edmund Colledge and James Walsh, 2 vols. (Toronto, 1978), 1: 268.
40. Jean Zizioulas explains the ancient theology of this view in Being as
(Crestwood, N. Y., 1985), esp. pp. 15-21, 84, 100-107.
41. Dwelling with/in God is seen as social or communal in some sense. Hence, the blessed
person "shal wonye in þi wones wi þ þyne holy seintes" (III.235), having gone
to heaven "With Patriarkes and prophetes in paradis to be felawe" (VII.12). This is an
Augustinian view: "What else is it to dwell in God's house than to be in the number of His
people, since His people are at the same time in God, and God in them?" Augustine,
Homilies, Tractate 69.1, 7: 324.