The politics of Middle English parables

Fiction, theology, and social practice

Mary Raschko
Search for other papers by Mary Raschko in
Current site
Google Scholar

The politics of Middle English parables examines the dynamic intersection of fiction, theology, and social practice in translated Gospel stories. Parables occupy a prominent place in Middle English literature, appearing in dream visions and story collections as well as in lives of Christ and devotional treatises. While most scholarship approaches these scriptural stories as stable vehicles of Christian teachings, this book characterises Gospel parables as ambiguous, riddling stories that invited audience interpretation and inspired the construction of new, culturally inflected narratives. In parables related to labour, social inequality, charity, and penance, the book locates a creative theological discourse through which writers reconstructed scriptural stories and, in doing so, attempted to shape Christian belief and practice. Analysis of these diverse retellings reveals not what a given parable meant in a definitive sense but rather how Middle English parables inscribe the ideologies, power structures, and cultural debates of late medieval Christianity.

Abstract only
Log-in for full text


‘Thoroughly researched and meticulously argued, The Politics of Middle English Parables succeeds in its ambitious effort to contextualize a uniquely paradoxical and suggestive body of late medieval religious writing.
Studies in the Age of Chaucer
February 2020

  • Collapse
  • Expand

    • Full book download (PDF with hyperlinks)
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 1260 190 15
Full Text Views 595 34 9
PDF Downloads 814 164 2