Religious Education as the Basis of Medieval Literature
Faria Saeed Khan (Department of English University of Balochistan Quetta, Pakistan)
International Journal of Humanities and Social Science: Vol. 4 No. 4 [Special Issue – February 2014]
The medieval literature was written with a purpose to teach Christian dogmas to the masses. The prose and poetry of the time meant to show men the ugliness of sin and the beauty of goodness. Critics are of the view that English drama originated from Christian religious rituals with the purpose to provide religious education to the masses and strengthen the faith of the worshippers. The plays stirred the minds of the people to good deeds, and devotion. The stories from the Bible, the Old and the New Testament showed the death, Burial and Resurrection of Christ in dumb shows. This Research paper will study the origin and aim of English literature during the Medieval Era.
Literature has been considered to have a dual purpose, to teach and to delight. During the Medieval Era it was believed that Human activity is not autonomous. Men are incapable to act as individuals – all men belonged to the Catholic Church, which expected them to believe and follow what it taught. The destiny of mankind was in the hands of the Divine. Men were dependent creatures, unable to exist without God. It was believed that Man is finite, he is made of dust and to dust he shall return. The sole purpose of life was to please God. Religion was the pivot of society and mankind was relegated in the background. England moved within the narrow shell of Scholastic philosophy. Churches and monasteries were the schools. They were operated by the clergy. The schools were dreary and cold, and physical activity was severely repressed. Few men could read and write. The Church authorities were the most learned people. They had access to all kinds of information. There were few books in Latin; it was very difficult for a common man to understand them.