Friday, November 16, 2007

Asked to Join a Plowman's Society...

Beautiful Dreamer
Piers Plowman Manuscript
Corpus Christi College, Oxford
(Image from Wikipedia)

Well, way back in high school, I did belong to the Future Farmers of America (Motto: "Plowmen dig thy earth!"). I even had a lovely, blue-suede jacket with the letters FFA embroidered in golden thread, and I, my wine-buddy Bruce Cochran, and two other friends all went as FFA members to represent our school at the dairy-products-judging finals in the state competition hosted by the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

But that ain't it. Nuh-uh!

Rather, last year, I published an article on universal salvation in Piers Plowman, titling it "Kinsman as 'Redeemer' in Piers Plowman, Passus 18," which was also published last year in volume 14, issue 1, of the MEMESAK journal.

In these hyperkinetic, cybernetic, internetic days, word eventually gets around.

Thus, in September of this year (2007), I was asked by Dr. Lawrence Warner -- Co-Editor of the Yearbook of Langland Studies and Lecturer of Middle English for the Department of English for the University of Sydney -- if I could supply an abstract to the article.

Yes, I could, so I did:
In Passus 18 of Piers Plowman, William Langland implicitly affirms universal salvation. The paper investigates what might lie behind Langland's position, which contradicts the Church's official teaching of limited salvation. At least three things may influence his views on kinship: the biblical concept of the kinsman-redeemer; Anselm's theological opinions on salvation; and Anglo-Saxon culture's emphasis upon kinship obligations. The third influence seems the strongest, for Langland has Christ implicitly affirm universal salvation because all of mankind are his blood kin. The Anglo-Saxon cultural factor would therefore appear to provide the key to understanding Langland's belief in universal salvation.
Dr. Warner promised that, for my assistance, "The community of P[iers] P[lowman] scholars would be very grateful!"

I reckon that I'm now one of those scholars, an expert in things Medieval, for I've now received an email from Dr. Warner's co-editor for the Yearbook of Langland Studies, Professor Fiona Somerset, who teaches Medieval Literature in the English Department at Duke University:
You're receiving this email because you've done work in Langland studies and have been suggested for membership by a current subscriber. We are writing to invite you to join the International Piers Plowman Society (IPPS), a membership that includes subscription to the Yearbook of Langland Studies (YLS) . . . . Your Society membership includes other benefits in addition to receipt of the journal. One is access to an electronic, searchable version of
the Annual Bibliography at [the IPPS website].
I'm tempted to join, now that I'm a scholar and all -- and in things Medieval, at that! But I'm not really much of a Langland scholar, having published only this one article, and I know that I'd never find the time and money to attend a Plowman conference since I must leap various hurdles even to attend such international conferences as those hosted by societies for Milton or Biblical Studies -- in which I'm arguably more of a scholar -- so I likely won't join this Langland society.

Still . . . it was nice to be recognized for something.

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At 10:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you date any FHA girls? It's tempting to think of the disappearance of FHAs from American high schools as progress, but considering how our diets have changed over the last twenty-year years, it seems real cooking and other household tasks are a dying art.

My high school's FFA died out about twenty years ago while my cousin, a high school ag. sci. teacher currently heads up the co-ed FFA in a neighboring rural high school of about 400 students. Her family were dairy farmers for fifteen years before they grew tired of getting up at 4 AM every morning and hardly ever taking a vacation. On a visit to their farm, it was a little unnerving to get a lesson in bovine insemination from her nine-year-old daughter.

At 11:38 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

No, Sonagi, I didn't date any FHA girls, for in high school, was too shy to date.

I still am shy, so I'm lucky to have met the right woman for me.

I used to help one of my best friends at his family's dairy farm, but I received no instructions of the sort that you report.

Nevertheless, I saw plenty of that sort of thing among the animals. Sigh. They just have no shame -- those animals!

Jeffery Hodges

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