Category: English II: Western Literature to 1492

Term Paper: English II

English II: Western Literature to 1492 was an enlightening course filled with early Christian mysticism, intriguing dialogues and a valuable insight into the lives and culture of the ancient and early Christian world. As a completion for this course, I was asked to write a term paper on this topic: “Are Boccaccio’s Decameron and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales closer in outlook to Greek and Roman literature than they are to Hebrew, Christian and medieval literature?

Boccaccio’s Decameron was the story of the Black Death, a plague that swept through Europe multiple times, destroying over two-thirds of the population. In this book, Boccaccio constantly pointed fingers at the clergy and the Church. He demeaned the friars and the priests, accusing them of immoral practices. He didn’t focus at all on the glory of God and man’s inability to accomplish anything without him.

This was completely contrary to the view that was portrayed in medieval literature, which focused on God far more that any Renaissance work ever did.

As far as it goes compared to Hebrew and Christian literature, it’s night and day. Boccaccio expressed a view of Man vs. the Church, something completely contrary to the Christian and Hebrew texts. And instead of a focus on the intense, immovable piety of man through the Church, it focused on individualism and the nit-picking of everyday life. Continue reading “Term Paper: English II”


Medieval Hymns

There were many medieval hymns that were written by ordinary laymen in the High Middle Ages. These are exemplary works of art, very representative of the time in which they were written.

In almost all of these hymns you see a hierarchy established between God the Father and the people. Jesus is the intermediary to God the Father. And between Jesus and the people there are also intermediaries. For example, in one hymn Mary was placed as an intermediary. In another Peter and Paul were presented as such. In yet another all the apostles along with the prophets of both the Old and the New Testament were intermediaries.

In the age these were written, there was no Protestantism. The pope was seen as the ultimate authority here on earth. He was the representative and successor of Peter on earth. There wasn’t the major division that would come later. The religion was still forming, still young. Jesus was still very present. Only later would that fade and give way to petty arguments, division and selective teaching.