Notes to Chapter 2

The Abbreviations list will be found in the Apparatus.

1. Schnyder (1961:44-45) also notes the general relevance of the Feast of the Circumcision to the events of the poem, but his information is meager, his ideology suspect, and his interpretations correspondingly weak.

2. The conclusion to Pearl, lines 1209-10, most vividly illustrates his devotion to the liturgy.

3. Cabrol, DACL 3:2:1717-28, especially 1718; see also Weiser 1952:135-40.

4. Emphasis added, Mirk 1905:45; see also Tamplin 1969:418-19.

5. See Blenkner 1977:371-72; Burrow 1965:104-10; Spearing 1970:225-27.

6. The Venerable Bede, Homelia 11 (CCSL 122:74-75); and for the "prima praevaricatio" and the "pactum" both, see also Angelomus of Luxueil, Commentarius in Genesin 17. 15 (PL 115:181) and Rupert of Deutz, In Genesim 5. 33 (CCCM 21:368).

7. The antiphon was current in England in The Hereford Breviary 1904:182; The Sarum Breviary 1879:1,292; and the York Breviary 1880:143; it was also current in Old English as no. 12, lines 1-6, of The Advent Lyrics of the Exeter Book 1959:77. Herz (1958:24-52) in his study of the origin and the dissemination of the antiphon dates it to the fifth century A.D.

8. Amalarius, Liber officialis 4. 32, 1948:505-9; Sicard of Cremona, Mitrale 5. 7 (PL 213:225-33); Prepositinus of Cremona, Tractatus de officiis 1. 48, 1969:38-39; Durandus 1570:fol. 278v-280r.

9. Consider further Bede's explanation of why Christ was circumcised (Homelia 11 in CCSL 122:74):

 Et ut nobis necessarium oboediendi uirtutem praecipuo commandaret exemplo factum sub lege filium suum misit Deus in mundum; non quia ipse legi quicquam debeat quia unus magister noster unus {83/84} est legislator et iudex sed ut eos qui sub lege positi legis onera portare nequiuerant sua conpassione iuuaret ac de servili conditione quae sub lege erat ereptos in adoptionem filiorum quae per gratiam est sua largitate reduceret. Suscepit igitur circumcisionem lege decretam in carne.

And in order that He might enjoin upon us the necessary virtue of obedience by an outstanding example, God sent His Son into the world, Himself subject to the Law; not because He owes anything to the Law, of course, since alone and uniquely He is our master, our law-giver, and our judge, but in order that those living under the Law, who were nevertheless unable to bear the burden of the Law, He might console and aid by His compassion, and in order that from their servile condition which obtained under the Law, He might, once they were taken up into the adoption of sons, which is through grace, free them through His largesse. Therefore, He endured the circumcision in the flesh which is decreed by Law. (emphasis added)

10. The most famous instances in Middle English poetry of Christ as a knight are doubtless those in Piers the Plowman--see especially B. 18. 19--35.

11. To compare is both `to set in relation to' and `to price'--see DL-FAC 1954: 179, s.v. "I comparo" and "2 comparo"--and the double meaning neatly summarizes the Green Knight's treatment of Gawain.

12. So Augustine, Contra Julianum Pelagianum 6. 20 (PL 44:834). He will also see in the luf-lace or syngne of surfet (2433) precisely that superfluitas that, according to numerous commentators, circumcision cuts away: in addition to the passage from St. Gregory (chap. 2 after n. 10), see Ambrose, Epistola 78 (PL 16:1268); also his De Abraham 2. 11. 78 (PL 14:494) and 2. 11. 84 (PL 14:496); pseudo-Bede, In Pentateuchum Commentarii--Genesis 17 (PL 91:237); St. Bernard, "In Circumcisione Domini" 2 (PL 183:135); Hugh of St. Cher 1669:7, fol. 143r; Marius Victorinus, Commentariorum in Genesin Libri tres 3 (PL 61:965).

13. On the `character' or sphrangis imprinted by baptism, see Lampe 1951: 154-55.

14. So Pearl, lines 639-40: "Oure forme fader hit /blysse parfyt/ con forfete / þur3 an apple þat he vpon con byte" (emphasis added).

15. See Petrus Lombard, In Epistolam ad Romanos 6. 6-11 (PL 191:1404); Thomas Aquinas, ST 3a. 69. 3; and Lottin 1954:4, 304-5.

16. Richard of St. Victor (ascribed by Migne to Hugh of St. Victor), Sermo 49 (PL 177:1035-36); see also Durandus 1570:fol. 280r.

17. Honorius Augustodunensis, Sacramentarium 93, "De Circumcisione Domini et Epiphania" (PL 172:798); see further Honorius Augustodunensis's Speculum Ecclesiae, "In Octavis Domini" (PL 172:842); also Bede, Homelia 11 (CCSL 122:77- 78); pseudo-Bede, Genesis 17 (PL 91:237); Hugh of St. Cher 1669:7, fol. 143r; Ludolph of Saxony 1729:46b; Gorham, fol. 63va; Petrus Cantor, "Summa Abel," fol. 17r. {84/85}

18. I have relied on the following studies: in addition to Courtenay 1971: 96-102 and Hamm 1977:407-10; also Courtenay 1972:185-209 and 1972-1973:275-95; Oberman 1977:165-70, 211-14; and finally Ozment 1980: 35-36.

19. See ST 3a. 62. 1 ad resp. and 3a. 64. 1, for examples of this common phrase.

20. Emphasis added; Augustine, De Nuptiis et Concupiscentia 2. 11 (PL 44:450); see further Rupert of Deutz, In Genesim 5. 31 (CCCM 21:365-66); also ST la. 2 ae. 101, art. 2 and the commentary by Chydenius 1960:36.

21. This is basic Pauline doctrine: "and he [Abraham] received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the justice of the faith, which he had, being uncircumcised; that he might be the father of all them that believe, being uncircumcised" (Rom. 4. 11). All the exegetes I have been able to consult agree with and repeat the Pauline emphasis: see, for a few from among many examples, Aegidius Romanus 1554/1555:fol. 28v; Augustine, De Gratia Christi et de Peccato Originali 30 (PL 44:402); Bede, Homelia 11 (CCSL 122:75); Durandus 1570:fol. 278v; Hugh of St. Cher 1669:7, fol. 159r; Petrus Lombard, Sententiarum Libri Quattor 4. 1. 6 (PL 192:840).

22. ST 3a. 70. 2 ad resp. 1; and the Feast itself is celebrated, we remember, on a day when the Church is particularly militant against idolatry (see chap. I at n. 3).