By D. Catherine Brown
Pastor and Laity within the Theology of Jean Gerson explores the pastoral instructing of 1 of Europe's so much influential churchmen of the early 15th century. Chancellor of the collage of Paris from 1395 to 1429, Gerson is perhaps top identified for his actions in the direction of finishing the good Schism. yet in the back of his public lifestyles lay a deep crisis for the non secular welfare of the folks. via an exam of Gerson's sermons and writings for the laity, and of his many works giving information to bishops and parish clergymen approximately their roles as pastors, preachers and confessors, the e-book throws mild on what the past due medieval, pre-Reformation Church was once instructing the laity, and in addition on well known spiritual mentality within the interval. the themes handled diversity from issues of excessive theological import comparable to justification, predestination and mysticism to the seven capital sins and all their branches, the artwork of preaching, ladies, marriage and youngsters.
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Sometimes he must speak vigorously, sometimes with wonder, or with grief, horror, derision or impatience, sometimes with gracious countenance or with joy. 177 There is no point, then, in drawing too sharp a line between medieval preaching theory and humanist theory, as it was expressed by Gerson and his circle. There was clearly a gap, however, between humanist theory and some preaching practice of the period. Despite the warnings issued by the Artes praedicandi, some preachers, according to Gerson at least, were letting themselves be over-influenced by logic and dialectical reasoning and under-influenced by rhetoric.
The monks have no role to play vis-a-vis the holy people, nor the holy people towards the catechumens. 28 It is clear that the author had to adapt his scheme to the actual situation in the church of his own day and hence a perfect symmetry could not be attained. With the celestial hierarchy, however, there were very few data to go on, and the Neo-Platonic concept of the triadic nature of the divine order, with strict rules of mediation, could be more perfectly preserved. But the basic thrust of Dionysius' thought is clear.
Gerson shows a formidable fierceness in his response. He calls the assertions scandalous, erroneous, dangerous and to be utterly repudiated. They derogate from the position of the ecclesiastical hierarchy and will lead to pride and rebellion on the part of the laity. 24 What, then, were the contours of Gerson's hierarchical church? 25 The Dionysian universe of living beings was essentially hierarchical in nature, with the terrestrial order reflecting the celestial order, the church here below imitating and made in the image of the heavenly church.