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Language and History in the Reformation: Cranmer, Gardiner, and the Words of Institution.

Over centuries, the fortunes of the verb to be illustrate the involvement of language in history and history in language, and the particular role of figurative language in the early reforms of the established church in Tudor England significantly reflects this involvement. Explanations and controversies regarding eucharistic belief during the archbishopric of Thomas Cranmer, which often draw on Continental sources, show that language and rhetoric were at the heart of Cranmer's basic problem, namely, how effectively to convey a metaphorical conception of presence. These arguments vairously parallel contemporary ones concerning meaning and the nature of metaphor, as evident in writings of Benveniste, Derrida, and especially Ricoeur.

What follows concerns two interlocking interests: the involvement of language in history, history in language, and the particular role of language, especially figurative language, in the early reforms of the established church in Tudor England. Still more specifically, my concerns will focus on explanations of eucharistic belief during the archbishopric of Thomas Cranmer. As Diarmaid MacCulloch, Cranmer's recent biographer, has observed, Cranmer's basic problem "was how best to convey a metaphorical notion of presence" (379). Language and rhetoric, the language art, were at the heart of this problem.

Linguistic history is the larger backdrop against which the theological reformation of the sixteenth century acquires a meaning that appears at moments prophetic. From a modern perspective, Reformation debates about tropology that center on the sacrament, the defining issue of the Reformation itself, at once mask and express the older linguistic displacements that underwrite their inevitability. These displacements -- actually, translations -- involve the verb is in the words of institution, "This is my body," and they are basically metaphoric. They transfer meaning from one language to another and from one mode of conception to another. Instead of being transparent or truly equivalent, they involve shifting registers of meaning.

As controversialists on both sides of the Reformation note, the argument for real presence rests essentially with the verb is, traditionally known as the substantive verb and taken to indicate a real and present existence. Understandably, the Swiss reformer Huldrych Zwingli therefore bases his seminal denial of real presence on a tropic understanding of the verb "is," taking it to mean "represents" or "figures." [1] Zwingli's associate Johannes Oecolampadius, responding to linguistic argument and historical precedent, merely transfers Zwingli's tropic initiative to the predicate nominative, "my body." He translates it as "a representation -- or figure -- of my body." [2] In either of these cases, real presence is displaced in and by "a certain maner of [figurative] spech," a phrase I borrow from Cranmer and his antagonist Stephen Gardiner about three decades later. [3] This manner, or mode, inheres not simply in Zwingli's trope, but also in a second concept of being inherent in the verb to be itself, one tha t is rather "fictive" (from fingere: "to form, make; to conceive, imagine") than substantive.

Not long before the clashes of Zwingli with Martin Luther in the 1520s over the meaning of the words of institution, Erasmus's annotations of the New Testament provoked controversy about these words, specifically calling attention to variants of them in the Greek codices. On the traditional Latin rendering of 1 Corinthians 11:24, Hoc est corpus meum, Erasmus remarks that the substantive verb is absent in the Greek, although, he notes circumspectly, "I find it added (additum) in certain [manuscripts]." [4] His Greek sources read, Touto mou soma, or, in Latin, Hoc corpus meum. Citing Erasmus, Luther, although a proponent of bodily presence and willing enough to invoke the authority of the substantive verb to support it, offers in his Confession concerning Christ's Supper a verbatim translation of the statement of institution without the substantive verb, namely, "'Take, eat this my body which is broken for you"' (3:331-32). Luther considers this version theologically acceptable.

The linguistic issue Erasmus and Luther directly or obliquely address is what linguists know as the nominal sentence. This is defined by Emile Benveniste as "a predicate nominative, without a verb or copula," which is "the normal expression ... where a possible verbal form would have been the third person of the present indicative of to be"' (131). Examples are Omnis homo mortalis, "Every man mortal," or Verbum satis sapienti, "A word enough for a wise man," or, indeed, Hoc corpus meum: "This my body," rather than "This is my body." The nominal sentence is found in ancient Semitic (including Aramaic), which actually lacks a copulative form of the verb to be, and in Greek and Latin, where it co-exists with alternative verbal expressions employing esti and est, respectively, both forms equivalent to English is. [5] Zwingli, acknowledging that there is "no word for 'is' and 'are'" in Hebrew, explains that this is simply "because the Hebrew language is not the same as the German." Instead, he adds, there are oth er "expressions [in Hebrew] which have the same sense in the German." [6] In other words, while the statement of institution is a nominal assertion, for Zwingli its appropriate translation in a western European language lacking the nominal sentence employs the verb to be. Significantly, it does so despite the fact that the absence of this verb in the text could have been used to support his denial of substantive presence, had he not embraced the particular convention of translation at issue. The absence of the verb, of course, is the reason that Oecolampadius transfers the trope from the verb to the predicate nominative, "my body."

According to Benveniste, the nominal sentence, which necessarily lacks such verbal modalities as time and person, is inherently "beyond all temporal or modal localization and beyond the subjectivity of the speaker," and it is therefore improper to translate this expression of "semantic content alone" into the third person present of the verb to be (137-38). [7] Establishing a total or partial "equivalence ... between two nominal elements," the nominal sentence differs in nature, and not simply in degree, from an utterance employing this verb (137, 144). Benveniste further suggests that besides having the syntactic function and morphological marks of a verb, to be originally had a definite lexical meaning, approximating "to exist, to have real substance," before it fell -- "at the end of a long historical development -- to the rank of the copula" (138). While Benveniste grants that it is impossible to attain the earlier meaning of *es (Indo-European prototype of be) directly, he observes that "*bhu, 'to put f orth, to grow,' furnished part of the forms of *es [and therefore] gives some inkling of it" (138). In other words, to be is fundamentally a verb and historically one with substantive meaning, a description to which the nominal sentence does not answer. Indeed, from a rhetorical perspective, the total or partial equivalence between the two nominal elements of the nominal sentence has, as its very description suggests, a structural predisposition to metaphor.

In contrast to Benveniste's argument, although with some resemblance to Zwingli's, Charles Kahn's study of the Greek verb to be, which is based on transformational grammar, recognizes the nominal sentence "as a phenomenon of surface structure only" (436). The essential principle of Kahn's theory is "that all syntactical operations or transformations be defined as relations between sentence forms," which necessarily include a verb (193). But as Kahn acknowledges, "reinterpretation of the nominal sentence as a phenomenon of zeroing or deletion of the copula follows almost inevitably from the very nature of the transformational enterprise" (436). System thus overrides difference, whether real or merely apparent, in what would itself appear to be a metaphorical transaction -- the translation of nominal to verbal sentence structure. The difference between Benveniste's and Kahn's views of the linguistically nominal sentence approximate those between philosophic nominalism and realism: the apparent phenomenon is si gnificant for Benveniste, only the underlying reality (or fiction?) for Kahn.

Kahn, a classicist taking the homeric system of uses of be for his primitive datum, also rejects any diachronic arguments about the development of this verb. All its forms are synchronic ab ovo in his view. [8] He is intent on the ideally triadic structure of the Greek verb be, which combines the copula, the veridical meaning, and the existential meaning -- or predication, truth, and existence -- and thereby avoids the "tyrannical influence of [post-Cartesian] epistemology," with its vexing questions about how we know and how we can be certain and, indeed, with its characteristically early-modern entanglement in seeming (400, 404). In the Greek system he describes, "problems of reality or existence were ... inseparable from problems of truth and ... predication." In fact, it is "precisely because [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] was basically understood as copula, but also functioned like our verb exist, [that] the major Greek philosophers were never seriously tempted to conceive existence as a predicate" (403-04). Kahn 's target, it should be noted, is the priority of the existential to the copulative meaning, not the difference between them, which he never doubts.

Other statements Kahn and Benveniste make regarding the nominal sentence prove further relevant to Reformation debate about the words of institution. Benveniste distinguishes between the communication of a fact by the verb to be and the assertion of a general truth by the nominal sentence: in Homer, Pindar, Hesiod, or Herodotus, for example, "The nominal sentence and the sentence with [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] ['is'] do not make assertions in the same way and do not belong on the same plane. The first is from discourse, the second, from narration. The one establishes an absolute; the other describes a situation" (142). In a modern language like Spanish, which has supplemented the nominal by the verbal sentence, Benveniste also notes a differentiation within the verb to be that corresponds to an earlier one between the nominal and verbal sentence: that Spanish ser means "to be essentially," and Spanish estar "to be existentially or circumstantially," he believes, "is doubtless not by chance" (144). A parallel developm ent occurs in late Latin, where "esse assumes the role of the copula while the notion of existence passes to existere, extare" (167).

Kahn's homeric evidence suggests to him that Benveniste's argument about the uses of be is too sweeping here. Kahn finds that as a "general rule..the verb [be] may be omitted [in Homer] wherever it is uninformative" and that it is often omitted for metrical reasons, which, I might add, are a very considerable complication in poetry for either side of the argument (441, 449). He also indicates that omission correlates "with at least two distinct stylistic tendencies in Greek, the high style of tragedy and solemn orations and the more relaxed usage of conversation, whereas [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is more often expressed in the formally correct prose of courtroom speeches and historical narrative" (444). This distinction looks very much like Benveniste's more extremely stated one between absolute and situational and between aphoristic and narrative uses. Yet Benveniste is clearly more inclined to see content in the nominal structure than is Kahn, who sees it in the verb, and interpretative biases that historica lly have proved recurrent are again evident in their differences regarding the structures of predication and being.

Notwithstanding them, Zwingli's observation about the translation of Hebrew, or indeed, of Greek, holds true, however: in western European countries, whose modern languages generally lack the nominal sentence - acknowledged even by Kahn as an apparent phenomenon - its translation customarily will, and arguably must, employ the verbal form is and will thereby open the words of institution to the ambiguity inherent in the history of this verb, not only in its original relation to the nominal sentence but also in its subsequent relation to itself-to the two concepts of being, essential and existential, nominal and truly verbal, copulative and substantive, within it. Insofar as the word translation - Latin translatio, literally "a carrying over or across" - is an early modern word for the arch-trope metaphor, a translation from Hebrew or Greek is potentially a tropic transfer of meaning, and in the biblical translations of western Europe, this metaphorical potential similarly exists within the verb of being itse lf.

Discussing this same bifunctionality of the verb to be from a modern philosophical perspective, Ernst Cassirer, like Benveniste, responds to the significance of the nominal sentence for meaning. He employs the opposed terms "predicative" and "existential" or "relational" and "absolute" or even "formal" and "sensuous" in his characterization of it, associating the latter term in each pair -- existential, absolute, sensuous -- with the languages of early and "primitive" peoples who employ the nominal sentence, "lacking ... a copula in our logical-grammatical sense" and perceptually having "no need of one" (1:314-15). Intent on the Kantian rationality of the copula, he agrees with Benveniste that the apparent copula of the nominal sentence is only apparent but disagrees with the linguist's sense of the formal (grammatical) timelessness, impersonality, and essentiality of such sentences. To the contrary, the missing copula in the nominal sentence "is not a universal term, serving to express relation as such, b ut ... designates existence in this or that place, a being-here or being-there, or else an existence in this or that moment .... Formal 'being' and the formal meaning of relation are replaced ... [in the nominal sentence] by more or less materially conceived terms which still bear the coloration of a particular sensuously given reality" (314-15). Cassirer cites examples of nominal assertion such as "The city big" or "I man," rather than the more aphoristic examples that Benveniste favors, albeit not exclusively. [9]

Even in languages with a sharply developed sense of "the logical singularity of the copula," Cassirer continues, the underlying sensuous signification of the verb to be itself -- namely, "to exist," "to occur in reality" -- persists. But he also finds that this underlying meaning "comes ultimately to be so permeated with the relational" one that it emerges as "the sensuous vehicle of a purely ideal signification" (318). In this way, the material and formal, the existential and essential, and the sensuous and "the spiritual" (ideal) become reciprocally determined, and "language shows itself to be at once a sensuous and an intellectual form of expression" (318-19). The philosopher's observations are not historically precise, but by "ultimately" he hardly intends a period prior to the Enlightment. In Reformation terms, however, the reciprocal determination he describes might be approximated to, or recognized as a translation of, something between the substantive verb of real presence and the figurative verb of absence, and thus between the extremes of Luther and Zwingli. This is the middle ground eventually occupied by Calvin, whose preeminence in England is a somewhat later story than the one that will centrally concern me, namely, the conflicted ground that Cranmer and several of the figures associated with him inhabited.

Benveniste and Cassirer, the linguist and the philosopher, approach the content of the nominal sentence-form from different perspectives and with different criteria of assessment, and, as we have seen, they differ regarding its nature: timeless, impersonal, and essential, on the one hand, and temporal, concrete, and specific, on the other. They agree, however, on the fact of its historical relevance to the verb to be, into which historically it is folded, and they align it with one or the other concept of being this verb expresses, Benveniste with the essential and copulative, Cassirer with the sensuous and existential. Their differences bear a curious resemblance to that between langue and parole, language as system and as actual speech, and they exemplify the charged debate for which the verb of being has proved a lightning rod over the centuries. Whatever the validity of these particular differences, which must also be weighed against Kahn's view that the nominal sentence is insignificant, they, too, para llel the linguistic history of eucharistic debate that the Renaissance inherits and Reformation debate regarding the Eucharist itself. Roughly speaking, Cassirer's view of the nominal sentence has affinities with the older, Catholic position; Benveniste's with the new, reformed one. Their differing views also have farther-reaching alignments with the realisms and materialisms that interpenetrate late medieval and early modern culture, but here I again anticipate a stage of my story that will build on mid-century English debates about the Eucharist.

Observing the history of eucharistic theology from the early Fathers to Thomas More, Brian F. Byron has noted a shift involving the verb to be "from expressions of identity (or essence) to those of presence," which is also a shift from the copulative to the substantive mode of is (430). As Byron explains the difference,

"Essence" is from the Latin esse, the copulative "to be." This copulative esse is to be distinguished from the substantive esse meaning "to exist." "Presence" is from praeesse, "to be before," in which esse has the substantive meaning. (430)

Byron maintains that in the New Testament (language unspecified) the verb "to be" referring to the Eucharist "is always the copula," as it is in the writings of the Fathers (430). But where the Fathers affirm "what the eucharist is," or "This IS my body," the Scholastics translate the copulative is to the substantive one: "This my body IS." They "assert...that the Body of Christ is present or is 'contained' in the Eucharist," and their assertions reappear in the eucharistic arguments of early modern controversialists, such as Thomas More and Stephen Gardiner. [10] The particular realism of presence or presence within, is further heightened, he also suggests, by a concomitant "shift from the Semitic concept of 'flesh'" (e.g., flesh of my flesh, flesh and bone, flesh and blood) to the less elemental and more "holistic term 'body'" (434, 436). In general terms, the shifts Byron characterizes illustrate the transfer within culture of linguistic to doctrinal history, and in more specific ones, they reverberate wit hin the Reformation debates about the words of institution. Crucially, the translation from copulative to substantive is that he identifies reveals a historical instance in which the metaphoric potential within the verb to be is realized, and language becomes history.

As argument about the sacrament proceeded at mid-century in Reformation England, there was general agreement, according to Cranmer, the reform-minded Archbishop of Canterbury, that "the very pith of the matter, and the chief point whereupon the whole controuersy hangeth, [is] whether in these words, 'This is my body,' Christ called bread his body." Cranmer noticeably shifts the issue from being to calling, from object to language, truth to interpretation. Elsewhere he complains that his conservative opponents "still repeat and beat upon (the same words, 'This is my body'] .... And this saying they make their sheet-anchor." [11] Although the term "saying" could apply to any utterance, it more familiarly refers to an adage, a proverb, a motto, or an axiom, the very sense that Cranmer's "sheet-anchor" assumes; the Archbishop insinuates the issue of being into a figure known to rhetoric as paroemia, literally translated, a "byword" or "proverb." [12]

Peter Martyr, a Continental ex-patriare who lived in England, experienced Cranmer's hospitality, and influenced his thinking, makes the related point that "our adversaires as we dooe holde that ... [Christ's eucharistic saying] is a true proposicion or sentence. And all oure contencion and striefe is onely aboute the sense or meanynge of it." This sense concerns "howe and in what mannier it is his bodye." [13] Of course the larger issue here is how words mean. Since, in Peter Martyr's reading the manner of Christ's saying is figurative and the meaning is spiritual, truth and figuration come enticingly -- perhaps also deceptively -- close in it. Just how they are related remains central throughout the Reformation debate about meaning.

Again and again, the reformers confront the conservative insistence that "all these aduerbes, really, substancially with the rest [e.g., 'vnfaynedly'], be conteyned in the one worde (is) spoken out of his mouthe" (Explication, sig. D4r). This literalist claim by Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, complements his earlier denial that est in the same instance signifies "a resemblaunce, (& not the beynge, as the verbe substantiue properly doth signifie)." [14] For him, the bread and wine are "not bare tokens" both because Christ is "spiritually present in them" and because his presence is necessarily "real and substanciall" (Explication, sig. B1r-v; sig. B5v). Emphatically, he is there physically, and he is in the elements. The word also has a real relation to the material thing, not just a figurative relation, and not just to a spiritual thing.

Linguistic literalism -- what both sides considered the "plaine signification of the words" -- aligns with objective, physical reality, and tropology with the subject and spirit. [15] Either side recognizes the other dimension of meaning, but secondarily and less crucially. While the English reformers assert the figurative character of Christ's whole statement regarding the bread, they put less emphasis on any single part of it. Their focus has become rather rhetorical and contextual than grammatical and logical, and this shift has made a very real difference. With it, the underlying linguistic issue within the verb of being is avoided, as in Cranmer's shift of focus from being to calling and figuration, or else its focus is broadened to the sentence and beyond. At the same time, this linguistic issue is diachronically present in the reformers' reliance on the writings of the early Fathers, not to say on the Bible itself. A fundamental diachrony, while not unique to Reformation Christianity, is a heightened characteristic of it, the linguistic dimensions of which await further exploration. Scholastic argument, in which the assertions of Peter Lombard, Augustine, Bonaventure, Albertus Magnus, and few others regularly provide points of departure and reference, is nonetheless marked by a degree of presentism -- in part the result of methodological abstraction -- that is missing from the arguments of more historically oriented theologians like Cranmer.

Cranmer and those minded like him, however, also read Patristic writings in ways inconceivable without the Luther-Zwingli debates about real presence and particularly without Zwingli's seminal insight into the metaphoricity inherent in the verb of being. Although taking a variety of forms, the reformed understanding of the words of institution as "tropical, figurative, analogical, allegorical" is derived from Zwingli's earlier linguistic claim, as Oecolampadius's version of it prototypically instances. [16] The linguistic diachrony implicit in such reformed claims does not always or necessarily result in the right reading of a Patristic text, but it finds sustenance in texts that often exhibit a different use and signal a divergent understanding of the verb to be from that of the Scholastics.

A significant defense against the conservative assertion of substantiation by the verb comes in the reformers' countercharge that the verb of being in the old religion is actually the vehicle of change or transubstantiation: the Catholics "dooe muche abuse the latine verbe substantif, Est, and muche contrarie to the propre significacion that [est]" should have cause it "to signifie transubstanciatur[,] is chaunged in substaunce, or to stand for conuertitur ... or for transmutare .... [If] they should take est, in his true and propre significacioun, they should speak that thyng, whiche is false and not true." [17] Thus it is the conservatives' est that is fundamentally metaphorical, a translatio or carrying of one thing across to another, and in this case a substantial translation, to boot. Perhaps the crucial difference is that for the conservatives, the translation is objective and real, whereas for the reformers, transubstantiation occurs merely in language. Their charge is the obverse of Gardiner's charge that the allegories of the reformers will subvert truth, "and all our religion [will be] reduced to significations," to mere language. [18] While both sides assert spiritual presence, the conservatives crucially in the elements of bread and wine, the reformers definitively in the believer, what finally and most fundamentally separates them is the spiritual status of the material realm, and what joins them is a fear of mere language -- language unmoored to a material or spiritual reality outside it -- which is precisely and ironically the linguistic condition their arguments and counter-arguments work to expose. This irony may have more to do with the subtleties about being and figuration in Renaissance literature that continue to fascinate us than we have recognized.

The fear of language is manifest in the very intensity of the reformers' scorn for the metaphoricity of transubstantiation and in their anxious effort to distinguish their own figuration from that of the poets and playwrights. For example, John Hooper, a prelate-martyr whose fiery fate was a prelude to Cranmer's, compares the conservative interpretation of the words of institution to a Canterbury Tale or an Ovidian metamorphosis. The words "Hoc est corpus meum," he declares, "make no more for the transubstantiation of the bread ... than In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas corpora [the beginning of Ovid's Metamorphoses] proveth Verbum caro factum est, et habitavit in nobis [the beginning of the gospel of St. John]." Eager to disqualify appeals to the troublesome est, Hooper, a relatively radical voice among the reforming prelates, insists that this verb proves nothing, unless the bread is really and substantially the body of Christ to begin with (120, 221). He rejects a role for language even correlativ e with, let alone causal of, real change. While the verb of being is his immediate, primary concern, the realism of conservative analogy, another mode of metaphor, is a secondary one. More than once we have seen the two related.

Reform-minded writers like Peter Martyr and Nicholas Ridley, a prelate close to Cranmer who shortly preceded him to the stake, are at pains to distinguish their own interpretation of a sacrament, or figure, from a merely fictive one, or, in Ridley's words, "a bare sign, or a figure, to represent Christ, none otherwise than the ivy-bush doth represent the wine in a tavern; or as a vile person gorgeously apparelled may represent a king or a prince in a play" (10). Peter Martyr similarly distances the sacramental figuration he embraces from dramatic fiction as he seeks to rationalize why some of the Patristic writers spoke of the sacrament in an "unpossible" or realistic way. He suggests three reasons: they sought merely to echo Scripture, nor to explain it; they were attempting to move the people more powerfully; and they wished to show "this signification was not like to thynges signifyed in a comedie or tragedie. For in such enterludes, any of the players beyng disguised in his players apparell maye represen te the persone of Hector or Priamus, ... but when he hath played his parte he is the same man that he was before": indeed, to borrow a question from Hamlet's response to the players, "What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba [then]?" In contrast, the worthy actor in a sacramental rite is more, if nor wholly other, than before, because he is "made one thing with Christ" (fol. 61v). The difference lies in the intensifying, transmuting effect of the sacrament rather than in its fictive or physical nature. This effect is psychological but also spiritual; it is assured -- warranted by divinity and not simply imagined. But it is hardly a wonder that fiction per se could seem so threatening, lacking, as it did, a warrant of truth in either the material world or that of the spirit, but otherwise one with the sacrament.

The perceived, though threatening, proximity of truth to fiction and psychology to spirit (threats that linger in more than one quarter today) produced debate that shows considerable sensitivity to language. In an exchange with the conservative Richard Smith, who has argued that if Christ merely called bread his body, then bread was "given to death for you," Cranmer mocks a literalism baffled by metalepsis and metonymy; at the same time, his examples attest to the figurality even of ordinary language: And so "a man may not take a loaf in his hand made of wheat that came out of Dantzic, and say this is wheat that grew in Dantzic, but it must follow, that the loaf grew in Dantzic. And if the wife shall say, this is butter of my own cow, Smith shall prove by this speech that her maid milked butter" (Answer, 33). Cranmer's wit seems merely commonsensical, until we recall that it occurs in a treatise in which the correspondence of words to things is becoming less clear and in a context in which blatantly realisti c language -- the language of Catholicism -- occurs with nothing but a figurative referent unless its psychic effect is confirmed by the spirit: thus, Cranmer writes, "we receive the body of Christ with our mouths, see him with our eyes, feel him with our hands, break him and tear him with our teeth, eat him and digest him (which speech I have also used in my catechism;) but yet these speeches must be understood figuratively" (Answer, 55-56). The eating is "as it were, "as though," or "as if," and in a word, it is metaphoric. [19] Cranmer exaggerates its realism both to convey the actuality of spiritual hunger and to make literal interpretation unreasonable, indeed, horrific. [20] Yet the danger of inconsistency or deception, of mere subjectivity and solipism, is also apparent in his use of such language, and ironically in a religion that has given new primacy to the plain word, this danger suggests its unreliability. Later in the same century, Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queene will aptly describe the cave of Er ror, a monster that vomits volumes of religious writing, as a place "Where plaine none might her see, nor she see any plaine": exactly what "plaine" is and what is "plain" are everywhere the issues underlying, and sometimes undermining, the linguistic surface (1.1.16).

The conservative Gardiner displays a sophistication about language every bit as developed as that of Cranmer and his associates, but he marshalls it in the interest of containment. For example, he readily makes the seemingly modern admission that "There is no speache so plaine and simple, but it hath somne peice of a figuratiue speache," but then he adds, "the common vse of the figure causeth it to be taken as a common propre speache" (Explication, sig. G6v). His explanation can be paralleled in standard rhetorics of the Renaissance, whether under "trope," "metaphor," or "catechresis," where it is normally accompanied by a familiar apology for the regrettable shortcomings of "natural," as distinct from figurative, language. While Cranmer appeals to usage as evidence of figuration, however, Gardiner cancels his own recognition of its extent by invoking usage and thereby dead metaphor or cliche. For a modern reader, their arguments have a faintly familiar ring, recalling the highly charged debate between Paul Ricoeur and Jacques Derrida over dead metaphors and living ones, canceled debts as opposed to synchronic ones. [21]

Gardiner also calls on figure to evidence its self-cancellation: since Christ "was the body of al the shadowes & figures of the law ... We must vnderstand his wordes in the institution of his sacraments without figure in the substaunce of the celestial thyng of them" (Explication, sig. D3r-v). His statement is ambiguous in a striking way: in it, the word "substaunce" refers equally well to the substance (subject matter) of the words or of the sacraments (material reality), and in this way it mirrors the real relation he sees between them. Here, neither word nor correspondent thing turns out to be substantially figurative. Analogy, which the reformers saw as rhetoric, has also a real, causal relation to a present effect in Gardiner's statement: since Christ was the body implicit in the shadows, we must see the substance at once in his words and the thing.

The reformers are the ones who open a (pre) Cartesian chasm between the mind's figures and a world that is materially real. Oddly, for Gardiner they do so because they are materialists. For him, their understanding is "carnall" since it answers to the testimony of their senses regarding the bread. To Gardiner's adversaries, of course, his literal understanding of est is carnal because it requires material presence to be real and is therefore impervious to the truth of the spirit. The issues, indeed the categories, here are at once confused and important. The eucharistic debates of the earlier half (roughly) of the sixteenth century constitute an epistemological watershed between the earlier age and the one to come. Alone, they hardly cause this overdetermined cultural crisis, but even aside from their contribution to its content, they critically organize and crucially express it.

Consider the subject of matter itself, for instance. Gardiner complains that Cranmer "hath diffamed as it were the termes carnally, and corporally, as termes of grosenes, to whom he vsed alwaies to put as an aduersatiue, the term spiritually, as thoughe carnally, and spiritually might not agre in one" (Explication, sig. G8r). This idea, that matter, here the redeemed flesh, and spirit are complementary and that both obtain for salvation, is at least in theory the dominant late medieval position. It relates to belief in a visible church and thence to a theory of the Papacy In reference to modern scholarship, it includes Caroline Bynum's radical revaluing of the flesh in medieval devotional beliefs and practices. But the visible church was also materially restrictive and corruptible, whether in historical or geographical terms, and Bynum's view grants no rights to the "real" body -- the material body as we know it -- which is to be suppressed, abused, or actively tortured in order to attain political and spirit ual ends. The medieval notion of matter, physical and specifically fleshly as it can be in practice, is still conceived sub spiritu. Although a material body can contribute to spiritual honor and resist lesser societal codes through privation and abuse, its behavior is nonetheless authorized by, and bound to, the spirit. It inevitably resists within the same dominant societal field in which it is expressed. This is a field in which matter can be transvalued, and its intractability to the mind greatly lessened. [22]

At least in Reformation England, the materiality of the substance a conservative like Gardiner defends also turns out to be qualified, and heavily so. Engaging Cranmer's question as to why we might not believe our senses with respect to the substance of the bread, as well as to the accidents or appearance, Gardiner offers as his answer a witty, imagined encounter between a scholar and "a rude, sensual man," the latter an obvious stand-in for the learned Archbishop. This rude [that is, ignorant] man asks the scholar to show him the difference among the substances of bread, cheese, and ale, and the scholar first explains the fundamentals, namely, that "the substance is the inwarde nature wherein those that be accidentes do naturally staye, the quantitie immediately and the rest by meane of quantitie." Impatiently, the rude man demands, "Callest thowe not this substance, this goode rownde thicke piece [of bread] that I handle?" He hears the reply that substance, properly understood, is neither seen nor felt by i tself, "yet by reason, [is] comprehended truely to be in that we fele & see" and "in comen vsed to signifie that is seen or felt, and so ye may say ye see the substaunce or feale the substance of bread, & yet ye do in deade see but the colour, and by it the largenesse and feale the heate, or coldenes, moysture, or drynes, weight, or lightnes." Implicitly glossing the meaning of the substantive verb, Gardiner then advises, "If ye will learne what substance is ye must leue your outwarde senses & consider in your vnderstanding howe in euery thyng that is, there is a staye [support or base], whiche we call a substaunce, beying the principall parte of euery thyng, whiche fayling we saye that speciall thynge not to be." To be or not to be, after all, is still the question, yet "the rude man I thinke would herat say, here is sophistrie in deade, for here is substance & no substance, matter of bread & no bread, apparance of bread & no bread, called bread and no bread, this is to play ingling where it happ eneth." [23]

Cranmer's version of this same "sophistrie" concerning the transubstantiated bread affords the model for what Gardiner parodies: "there remaineth whiteness, but nothing is white: there remaineth colours, but nothing is coloured therewith: there remaineth roundness, but nothing is round: and there is...breaking, without any thing broken; division without anything divided: and so other qualitites and quantities, without anything to receive them" (Answer, 45). Cranmer's objection operates within Gardiner's terms, insisting only that accidents must inhere in their proper substance and not questioning the basic division of objects into substance and accident. But the Archbishop goes further when he exclaims, "take away the accidents, and I pray you what difference is between the bodily substance of the sun and the moon, of a man and a beast, of fish and flesh, between the body of one beast and another, one herb and another, one tree and another, between a man and a woman? yea, between any one corporal thing and a nother?" (Answer, 260). Although in theory not essential to a thing, the accidents in this view are nonetheless proper to its identity and necessary to its definition. In an Aristotelian paradox or, for that matter, a Derridean pun, we might term them essential proper-ties. [24] The vexed question of Cranmer's nominalism aside, fictive theory yields in his argument to the evident facts of material reality. [25]

The roots of the dispute between Cranmer and Gardiner reflect conflations of essence and substance in the philosophic tradition. Essence (from esse, "to be") is the identity of a thing -- what it is -- and this is defined by Aristotle as its form, which is necessary and unchanging, as distinct from matter. In Aristotle, substance can mean the concrete individual thing but primarily means the genus and species, and, for further complication, essences also occur secondarily as substances. The fact that Aristotle's account of substance is "obscure," if not "self-contradictory," illuminates the later history of these categories. For example, Augustine attributes the same meaning to the terms essence and substance, and Boethius translates the one as the other. Aquinas regards a substance as an existent essence, or in terms of physical bodies, as a form that has received matter. Literally, substance (from Latin substo) means "standing under," hence support or base (material, with reference to animal existence) for the accidents that inhere in it. [26] It is only within this confused philosophic tradition that Gardiner's distinctions make sense, and Cranmer's claim (as reported by Gardiner) that "the accidents of bread may be called the matter of breade, but not the materiall breade" -- the thing itself -- shows that he participates in it, although he does so again in defense of physical reality (Explication, sig. P3r). It is as if Cranmer knew (though I'm not claiming he did) that Greek ousia, "essence" or "substance," also occurs in the philosophic tradition as a synonym for Greek physis, "stuff of which things are made," or as we might say, "physical nature." [27] Common sense (literal usage) or some shade of nominalism could have suggested the same conclusion to him.

If the status of the material realm, theoretical and physical, fictive and real, is one focus of debate, that of the spiritual realm is another. This focus, too, involves debate about fiction and specifically about tropes. More than once, as we've seen, Gardiner objects that even as Cranmer has sundered the carnal from the spiritual, he has equated the terms "figurative" and "spiritual." In interpreting a passage from Chrysosrom, for example, Cranmer allegedly "vseth a sleight to ioyn figuratiuely to spiritually, as though they were alwayes all one, which is not so" (Explication, sig. G1r: my emphasis). Gardiner also catches Cranmer rendering Augustine's description of the sacrament as Christ's body "(secundum quendam modum) after a certaine maner" as "after a certain maner of spech" and thus translating what Gardiner interprets as a real change to a merely figurative and linguistic one -- precisely the characteristic shift I have earlier remarked in Cranmer's writing (Explication, sig. G4r).

Had Gardiner been able to make his charges stick, then he would indeed have convicted his opponent of reducing spiritual truths to significations. His reading of Cranmer is obviously biased, however. Although there are places in Cranmer's writings where he appears to equate the terms figuratively and spiritually through a kind of shorthand, there are more telling ones in which he insists that "figuratively ... [Christ] is in the bread and wine, and spiritually he is in them that worthily eat and drink the bread and wine" (Answer, 139). Here, the real analogy is not between word and matter, but between linguistic figure and internal affect. The change is psychic (from Greek psyche), a word I invoke for its poise between the meanings "mind" and "soul." Here, too, the crucial argument between Cranmer and Gardiner also reverts to the status of the object: in Cranmer's words, "Christ is not there [in or under the bread], neither corporally nor spiritually," whereas, in Gardiner's, he is "there really & substancia lly," by which he intends corporally, "but in a spirituall maner" (Answer, 54; Explication, sig. F3r). Thus we are back to the meaning of Christ's assertion "This is my body."

If Gardiner's corporeality is to be understood in a spiritual manner, the firmness of Cranmer's distinction between outward symbol and inward effect is elsewhere qualified as well. In Cranmer's fateful disputation on the sacrament at Oxford in 1554, where he significantly is obliged to engage with logical terms and structures, his statements about figuration suggest that the reformed object is touched, at least conditionally, by the spiritual effect. This is the other side of the debate, one no longer between the conservative juncture of matter and spirit and the reformed separation of them, but now between magical object and naked symbol. On this side, because the political tides have turned with the death of Edward VI and the accession of Queen Mary, the reformers are on the defensive.

According to John Foxe's account of the Oxford disputation, Cranmer declares at one point to Ogelthorpe, a conservative, "You know not what tropes are" (6:450). Ogelthorpe, an arbiter of the disputation, has objected, "qualis est corpus? quails est praedicatio [what is the body? what is the predication] ?" to Cranmer's answer that Christ, as Ogelthorpe puts it, "gave his body in bread." First correcting Ogelthorpe's Latin to "quale corpus," Cranmer affirms, "It is the same body born of the Virgin, was crucified, ascended; but tropically, and by a figure. And so I say, 'Panis est corpus' [bread is the body: the predication at issue] is a figurative speech speaking sacramentally; for it is a sacrament of his body" (450). Reserving the condition "speaking sacramentally" (i.e., sub specie fidei), I would pursue what Cranmer intends by a trope or figure, which sequent exchanges clarify. [28]

Ogelthorpe next rebuts Cranmer in a syllogism: the word "body," being predicated, signifies substance; but "substance" is not predicated denominatively; therefore, "it is an essential predication; and so it is his true body, and not the figure of his body." To this, Cranmer counters, "Substantia [substance] may be predicated denominatively in an allegory, or in a metaphor, or in a figurative locution." It is to Ogelthorpe's then objecting that Christ would not use tropes in his last testament because they merely obfuscate and lie that Cranmer retorts, "Yes, he may use them well enough. You know not what tropes are" (450).

What Cranmer means by a denominative predication in an allegory, metaphor, or (other) figurative speech - metonomy, for a relevant example -- is of greater interest than Ogelthorpe's familiar assumption that figurative language is deceptive. Glossing denominative contextually as "non-essential, insubstantial, or figurative" is useful but also redundant, since it repeats the text instead of explaining it. The logical usage "derivative" or "in a derivative sense" may offer a more enlightening alternative. In Aristotle, something can be denominated black that is not wholly so if it has enough black to justify the term; in such a case it can also be said to be black derivatively, insofar as the appropriateness of using the term black is derived from how much blackness there is in the thing. [29]

In a related example at the beginning of Aristotle's Categories, some things are said to be "paronymous," which has been translated denominativa [denominative] in the Latin tradition and becomes a theory of connotation in such nominalists as William of Ockham and Jean Buridan. The term "denominative" applies when a noun or adjective makes a kind of oblique reference to something else: for example, the words "just" and "justice" are derived one from the other (opinions differ on which from which), and there is some kind of systematic connection between what is called "justice" (the actual virtue itself) and what can be called "just" (just people, just governments). Here the appropriateness of calling something "just" is derived from the justice it has in it or exhibits. Put otherwise, something is called "just" denominatively. [30] In both examples -- black and just(ice) -- the propriety of the term derives from a thing's having a substantial amount or expressing a significant degree of the attribute in quest ion.

In the eucharistic allegory, metaphor, or (other) figurative locution to which Cranmer attributes substance denominarively, or in a derivative sense, he affirms that the body is not essentially, and therefore not "really," a substance. At the same time, however, he affirms something more regarding its substantiality than if he had flatly asserted that the sacrament is merely bread. In logical terms, the connection between a figurative body and a real one is, if derived, systematic and appropriate; in this limited sense, it is proper, as his responses to Ogelthorpe imply. The figurative body has or expresses something derived from the real one that is substantial, though in some sense also equivocal, in the instance in question.

Metonymy is the figure invoked by reformers of different stripes and with different intentions perhaps more often than any other to explain the words of institution, and at times in the disputation at Oxford, as elsewhere, Cranmer appears to invoke it: Christ "calleth the sacraments by the names of the things; for he useth the signs for the things signified: and therefore the bread is not called bread, but his body, for the excellency and dignity of the thing signified by it" (465). The usual emphasis on calling is here, along with association, but arguably little more. Here, it would seem, is neither identity nor predication -- neither the absolute stability of Benveniste's nominal sentence nor even the predication necessary to Ricoeur's conception of metaphor -- and thus denomination only in the simplest, least technical sense of verbal substitution or mere "naming."

Metonymy can be understood otherwise, however, as it variously had been by Scholastic theologians. In Thomas Aquinas, for example, extension, which is metonymic, is "an analogical mean between the extremes of ... univocal and equivocal meaning." Such an extensive or metonymical relationship corresponds in Thomas' view "to something in the reality outside the mind." [31] The meaning or mode of signifying of the extended term -- its "denominating form" -- corresponds to this reality. [32] Metonymy, as explained here, participates in Thomas' realism and contrasts with equivocation and metaphor. In the view of Duns Scotus, for a different example, denomination, another metonymic conception, relevantly occurs in discussion of the communicatio idiomatum or exchange of the names "Word" and "man" in reference to Jesus. According to Scotus, "god" can be designated man denominatively -- by denominatio, in rhetoric defined as "the substitution of the name of an object for that of another to which it has some relation, as the name of the cause for that of the effect, [or] of the property for that of the substance, [as in] ... a metonymy." [33] Scotus argues that the Word, which subsists in Jesus's human nature as its supposit (from supponere, "to place under"), is formally man and that both the names "god" and "man," being common to several persons, are "ordered denominatively [ordinatur denominative]" in any one of them. [34] Scotus's theological position is unexceptional: Jesus's humanity and divinity and the distinction, crucial to salvation, between them are real. What is notable, however, is his use of denominative to characterize a statement that is correct given a certain qualifying understanding, in this case of defining form. Within the later context of nominalist thought, the question its language focuses is whether what Scotus regards as the denominative order (an order of naming) is also an order of being that corresponds to something in a reality outside the mind or whether it belongs essentially to the mind, t o an order of logic, rhetoric, and faith. [35] On the face of it, this question again gets us closer to Cranmer's careful, constrained, and somewhat equivocal responses in Oxford.

Through comparison, related statements by Cranmer and his associates, such as Nicholas Ridley, John Hooper, and Peter Martyr, can further clarify his argument in the disputation, albeit not without suggesting some variance in their views or at least in their expression of them. These views had, after all, changed in the course of their adult lives and, specifically in Cranmer's, from a Catholic to a Lutheran position and then to one sufficiently Zwinglian for him to have stated near the end of his Defence, "we make no sacrifice of him [Christ], but only a commemoration and remembrance of that sacrifice." [36] Yet if Cranmer's assertion to Ogelthorpe regarding the denominative predication of substance were to be read in connection with statements by Ridley, the friend and personal chaplain Cranmer credited with having led him to his final reformed belief, it would lend a more positive quality to his responses that is reminiscent of metonymic extension and of the logical derivation I've described, and then som e. [37] In Foxe's rendering of the disputation on transubstantiation licensed for Cambridge in 1549, during the heyday of reform under Edward VI, Ridley asserts that Christ's "body is there only in a sign virtually, by grace, in the exhibition of it in spirit, effect, and faith, to the worthy receiver of it." Presuming the qualifications "by grace ... in spirit, effect, and faith," he later acknowledges not Christ's "real substance to be there; but the property of his substance," as would be the case in a metonymy. He then adds as a relevant condition that "the propriety of essence in the Deity is the very essence, and whatsoever is in God is God." [38] Since "virtually" (from Latin virtus) means "by virtue or power of [grace, in this instance]," Ridley argues that in divinity "property" or "propriety," part of what is proper to a substance or being (Latin proprietas), amounts to much the same thing: what is effected by grace is so by a property of God's essence, which is in God, or as Ridley puts it, Christ' s teal substance is not there but the property of his substance is. Moreover, this property is present "only in a sign virtually, by grace," and "in the exhibition of it in spirit, effect, and faith" and to a "worthy receiver." [39] Yet, with all these qualifications, there is a systematic connection between the virtual, figurative substance and divinity. [40] The body is, in a sign and by grace and in spirit, effect, and faith, virtually and derivately present. Even Ridley's extreme virtualism stops short of Calvin's mature thought in lodging the communication of Christ's power in spirit and faith with merely derivative attention to the object, yet the difference between them is finally slight -- more a matter of reference and emphasis, focus and rhetoric, and certainly not of substantial or bodily presence on Calvin's part. [41] Far from being a trivial or merely external matter, however, rhetoric, including Ridley's careful, multiple qualifications, proves surprisingly -- I would say, incredibly -- essenti al to reformed belief.

Although the prelate Hooper, a more radical ecclesiastical reformer than Ridley, thinks of sacraments as "nothing else but a [Zwinglian] badge and open sign of God's favor," his explanation to Gardiner of how the sacrament is "not a bare sign and token of his [Christ's] death only" helps by comparison with Ridley's virtualism to define further what Cranmer's denomination (derivation) means. [42] Hooper distinguishes between all the sacraments of Christ and other signs as he does "between the seal of a prince, that is annexed unto the writing or charter that containeth all the prince's right and title...vnto his realm, and the king's arms painted in a glass window." The matter of the seal is simply wax and the land is not "contained in the writing, nor annexed to the writing." Yet the seal on a charter, though lacking power in itself, "confirms" the king's title (190-91), whereas the arms in the window are merely a representation. In a transferred or derivative sense, the seal could be considered efficacious, although the word seems almost to lose its charge in this context. Any other man's seal would similarly afford confirmation of his property, if not of a kingdom.

Examining Zwinglian metaphors for the Eucharist, Peter Martyr complains that they are "to[o] cold," and his complaint highlights a difference between his own views and theirs to which I'll apply the ambiguous term "substantial" (fol. 105r). His complaint applies equally well to the metaphor of the seal as Hooper develops it, which strikes me as declarative and indicative rather than properly instrumental. Hooper's metaphor fails to appeal to divine right or regal power as such and thus to convey a sense of the special force invested in the sign. Right after unambiguously rejecting the possibility of Christ's body being "naturally, corporally, & really conteyned in the ... breade," Peter Martyr also objects that the Zwinglians "seldome make mension of the sacramental mutation of the bread & the wine, which yet is no small matter," and his objection approaches Cranmer's position in Oxford when Cranmer holds, "'Panis est corpus' is a figurative speech, speaking sacramentally" -- a figure, indeed, but given cert ain conditions, one that truly effects a change (fols. 106r-07r).

Predictably, this same, elusively poised affirmation of substantial significance and effect characterizes Cranmer's position in his Oxford disputation regarding the issue underlying figuration -- the status and function of the words, as such, of institution. Conservative disputants argue that if these words are figurative, they have no efficacy; the speech they constitute worketh nothing"; in contrast, "the [eucharistic] speech of Christ is a working thing" and therefore it cannot be figurative. In rebuttal, Cranmer replies, "I said not, that the words of Christ do work, but Christ himself; and he worketh by a figurative speech." Rephrasing slightly, he stresses, "The speech doth not work, but Christ, by the speech, doth work the sacrament." [43] This is clearly the charged "instrumentalism" identified with Calvin by B. A. Gerrish and by Diarmaid MacCulloch, citing Gerrish, with Cranmer. [44]

Notably, however, there are almost no references to Cranmer's familiarity with Calvin's writings in MacCulloch's capacious and enlightening biography, which abounds with references to relevant divines. Although Gerrish's work is immensely helpful in evaluating Cranmer's position, his command of Calvin's many revisions, including Calvin's most mature view in the final edition of the Institutes in 1559, three years after Cranmer's death, invites caution. [45] As Archbishop from 1533-1556, Cranmer was often embroiled in controversy and political maneuvering, and however genuine his scholarly credentials and theological achievements, he cannot have had unlimited time for them. Certainly he employed ghost-writers and relied on intermediaries like Martin Bucer and Peter Martyr to keep abreast of Continental developments. [46] Compared to Calvin's theological position, Cranmer's appears more in process, more variable, and at times more elusive. In my reading, the status of the object is more focal for Calvin and it s mystical nature considerably more pronounced. [47] In the relatively controlled confines of Geneva, he could perhaps afford to have it so.

In another exchange at Oxford about the "virtue of god's word" in the sacrament, Cranmer affirms, "with the [Catholic] church, that the body of Christ is in the sacrament effectually." [48] When a conservative disputant challenges that the words "'This is my body'" refer to the substance and not to the effect, Cranmer grants, as Ridley will, "that he spoke of the substance, and not of the effect after a sort [derivatively and figuratively, I assume]," and he again asserts that Christ's body is in the sacrament most effectually, albeit not in or under the bread, to which he refuses to confine the meaning of sacrament. Perhaps Cranmer's clearest answer regarding the words of institution comes in the last revised response he made to Gardiner from prison: here, in a memorable phrase, he describes "Christ's words in the supper" as having effectual signification." But the reason he gives unambiguously indicates what he means: "For he is effectually present ... in the godly receivers" of the bread and wine (Answer, 34, my emphasis). [49] A couple of pages later, he adds, to the godly eater," the words of the supper "be effectuous and operatory," and "so to the wicked eater, the effect is damnation and everlasting woe" (Answer, 36). The object is subject to the recipient of it. Christ is not absent but present in his sacraments, as ... in his word when he worketh mightily by the same in the hearts of the hearers" (Answer, 11).

Substance was a code word in eucharistic debate, as has been evident, and analogies between the sun, its sunbeams, and Christ's substantial presence are recurrent in it as well. In 1539, Calvin added to the images of the chain and the channel the rays radiating from the sun to convey the idea of a power that comes from Christ in the sacraments: thus in Institutes 4.17.8, the sun "'casts its substance'" on the earth by shining its rays. Our union with Christ through faith is "substantial" and a "substantialis vigor" flows from him as head to us as members. [50] Gardiner is attracted to the use of the solar analogy by Bucer, another expatriate reformer influential in England and specifically on Cranmer, since it also makes the point that the sun is substantially present" on earth by means of its sunbeams. [51] Of course "substantially" means "really" or "bodily" to Gardiner. What Cranmer repeatedly stresses, however, is that "as the sun corporally is ever in heaven, and no where else, and yet by his operation a nd virtue... is here in earth, so likewise our Saviour" (Answer, 89: my emphasis). [52]

It would not be hard to imagine the puzzled frustration of Gardiner's uneducated layman -- his "rude man" -- if faced with the subtleties of denomination, derivation, virtuality, and propriety or with nuanced distinctions among various conceptions of substance and essence; nor to imagine this layman's yearning instead for a "goode rownde thicke piece" of bread and for the familiarity and reassurance of the visible, tangible sacred object. [53] But there is another side to the reformers' efforts to express their metaphorical notion of presence that brings the abstraction of their conceptual thought down to earth. This side is affective, and it is especially invested in language and rhetoric, indeed in a way that resonates suggestively with the great literature of the early modern period. Or perhaps it is more accurate to describe the two sides merely as different aspects of a single conception, insofar as the efforts of reformers such as Cranmer, Ridley, and Peter Martyr to explain the cognitive aspect of the ir metaphorical presentism not only always includes but also requires and even depends on the affective, psychological one.

Attention to psychology is inevitable in a theology of the sacrament that crucially locates its effect within the recipient. Both the psychological effect of the sacrament and the words conveying it are inseparable from the "efficacye which is due vnto" (i.e., results from) the "sacramental mutation of the bread & the wyne," for, as Peter Martyr explains, "these thynges are not made vulgare or comon signes, but suche signes as maye myghtily & strongly stiere vp the mynde." [54] Memorably glossing Theophylactus, Cranmer makes this mutation explicitly a change "into the virtue" of Christ's being for the faithful recipient: "as hot and burning iron is iron still, and yet hath the force of fire; and as the flesh of Christ, still remaining flesh, giveth life, as the flesh of him that is God; so the sacramental bread and wine remain still in their proper kinds; and yet to them [55] that worthily eat and drink them, they be turned not into the corporeal presence, but into the virtue of Christ's flesh and blood" (De fence, 187). Peter Martyr's sense that the similitudes favored by Zwinglians are too cold to "weorke any alteracion or chaunge" in the thinker" or to feed and nourish "hys mynde" illuminates Cranmer's attention to affect: his adaptation -- apparently with Luther's help -- of Theophylactus' vivid image of hot iron; his use, cited earlier, of realistic, "Catholic" language to dramatize the truth of the sacrament; or more generally, his justly admired liturgical compositions. [56] Among these, Cranmer's "most enduring monument" remains the Book of Common Prayer, a widely disseminated book whose language had an enormous influence on the development of English both in this period and beyond it. [57]

Ricoeur's theory of metaphorical imagination and feeling bears suggestively on Cranmer's and Ridley's scholastic language of efficacy, illuminating what they seek to convey. Ricoeur conceives of the psychlogical features of metaphor -- images and feelings -- as having a semantic or meaningful function that complements that of its cognitive features. Good metaphors do not simply convey content, they enable "its mental actualization"; they "'set before the eyes' the sense they display." If Ricoeur's description of metaphor were not already suggestive enough in relation to the function the reformers assigned to the metaphoric elements of bread and wine, it becomes even more so: "it is as though the tropes gave to discourse a quasi-bodily externalization," one that is there and not there. "By providing a kind of figurability to the message, the tropes [figures, after all, of speech] make discourse appear." [58] The Reformation commonplace that the sacraments are "words visible," "speakyng signes" that give visib le form to God's words, resonates in the background of Ricoeur's explanation, along with derivation and virtual presence. [59] It is as if the reformers' conception had taken this explanation one step further, conceiving of figuration in dramatic terms as an actual performance of metaphor, in this case at a table or altar.

Seeing Cranmers' communion rite as sacred drama, Julia Houston has noted its iconic aspect, and Ricoeur, after Charles Sanders Pierce and Paul Henle, has argued for an iconic aspect of metaphor, of which virtually visible words are an expression. [60] But as Ricoeur asserts -- and as Houston also grants with respect to Cranmer's rite -- the verbal element, particularly the words of predication, must control the iconic if the latter is to be meaningful or to belong in a semantic theory. [61] Ricoeur, now following Marcus Hester, refers in this connection to "'bound' images, that is, concrete representations aroused by the verbal element and controlled by it" (147-49). This is a point about which the reformers were similarly adamant, insisting that exhibition of the sacramental signs be accompanied by the explication and preaching of God's word. Like Ricoeur's theory their theology of efficacy is finally poised between a semantics of metaphor and a psychology of imagination.

Ricoeur also distinguishes between emotions and what he calls "genuine feelings." The latter, which he also terms "poetic," in fact "imply a kind of epoche [suspension] of our bodily emotions"; for example, "When we read, we do not literally feel fear or anger," and Aristotelian catharsis entails "both the denial and the transfiguration of the literal feelings of fear and compassion" (1979a, 155-56). Feelings are "not merely inner states but interiorized thoughts." Far from being opposed to thought, feeling "is thought made ours." It involves a "felt participation" that is part of the meaning of metaphor or of metaphoric structure (1979a, 154). As Peter Martyr put it, the sacraments, metaphorical to their core, are "such signes as maye myghtily & strongly stiere vp the mynde," and as Cranmer protests, Christ is not absent but "present in his sacraments, as ... in his word, when he worketh mightily by the same in the hearts of the hearers" (Answer, 11).

The most perceptive ideas about metaphor, as about close reading in the Renaissance, are often to be extracted from the writings of the theologians, rather than from those of the rhetoricians (if the distinction is tenable). These are the ideas that resonate most strongly with the practice of the great poets and playwrights of the period. Metaphor is finally the conception, and inseparably the form, upon which a historical reformation of human perception and belief is founded and which remains very much with us in contemporary epistemological argument. The relevance of its early modern background is clearly evident in the Ricoeur-Derrida dispute about metaphorical meaning, for one telling example related to the founding assumptions of either's epistemology. Knowing more of this background is instructive and exhilarating in a peculiarly academic way, and yet the implication of language in history and history in language is, in the main, deeply sobering, a witness to a kind of inevitability in even brilliantly rational arguments that gestures toward larger structures.

(1.) Zwingli, 1984, 2:356-57.

(2.) Rupp, 25-27; Oecolampadius, 1:337 (#235); Tertullian, 2:492-93. See also Luther, 176, and "Marburg Colloquy, 1529" in Ziegler, 71-107.

(3.) Gardiner, 1551 (hereafter Explication) , sig. G4r (accurately citing Cranmer); cf. Nicholas Ridley, 1843, 41.

(4.) Erasmus, 1703-1706, 6:715-16; also 1986; and Rummel, 156-57.

(5.) Benveniste, 165: 'Ancient Semitic did not have a verb to be." It should be observed that Benveniste writes within the context of his discussion of the copula. An exception to his statement taken literally or absolutely would be Hebrew hoveh, the verb to be in its existential sense, which is customarily restricted to God: e.g., "God was, God is, God will be."

(6.) Zwingli, 1953, 224. Also 1927, 4:918-20: "Causa huius ist, quia Hebraeus sermo non est Latinus; nam si Hebraeus esset Latinus, indubie esset in his locis verbum 'est.'"

(7.) The word mou, "my," is unrelated to the "temporal or modal localization" and "the subjectivity of the speaker" of which Benveniste writes and does not affect his argument regarding the absent verb and the implications of its absence. The meaning of the phrase soma is more complicated, however, since its referent is variously thought to be Christ's natural body born of the Virgin, his glorified body, his mystical body, or a combination of these. Mou soma invokes the problem of the materiality, the localization, and even the singularity of the body of Christ in a way susceptible either of symbolic or of physical interpretations -- of impersonality or of its opposite. In other words, it settles nothing.

(8.) Kahn, 199-201, 373-75, 386. But see also note 5 above.

(9.) Benveniste, 135, for instance, cites as a nominal assertion the Ilocano adjective mabisin, "hungry," which expresses the utterance "he is hungry" without a verb or even a pronominal sign.

(10.) Byron, 432 (sic); Gardiner, Explication, sig. B1r-v, G7r.

(11.) Granmer, 1844 (hereafter Answer), 32, 103.

(12.) Lanham, 73.

(13.) Peter Martyr, fol. 42r (my emphasis). On Peter Mattyr's considerable influence in England and specifically on Cranmer, see M. Anderson, 451-69; for a contrary assessment, which nonetheless grudgingly admits some degree of influence, see Hall's learned and forceful essay, 227-34. But a number of passages Hall cites can be debated, either through context or a less narrow or literal reading; the same is true of his rendering of many passages in Cranmer's published writing. Greenblatt, 342, suggests that the primary literary importance of Reformation debates about the sacrament lies in "the problem of the leftover, that is, the status of the material remainder" -- the bread and, even more, the body. The problem of the sign, the verb of being, which is inseparable from the question of figuration, is, to my mind, of equal or greater import: "To be or not to be," moreover, is the focal question.

(14.) Gardiner, Detectoin, sigs. D8v-D9r. I have not used a capital letter for the term "reformers" in an effort to distinguish those MacCulloch, 2-3, calls "evangelicals" from the reformers later in the century. (MacCulloch's term "evangelicals" is unsuitable in an American context, since it suggests fundamentalism.) I have also used the term "conservative," instead of "Catholic," to refer to Catholics like Stephen Gardiner, who assented to Henry's break with Rome but drew the line at real (bodily) presence. Redworth's biography of Gardiner can be useful in locating Gardiner's position: Redworth observes that lawyer-bishops such as Gardiner were likely to accept the Royal Supremacy, trading one authority for another, and that Gardiner preached "the very presence," rather than "true presence," in order to satisfy the more radical reformers under Somerset's protectorate (10, 266).

(15.) Peter Martyr, fol. 44r.

(16.) Cf. Brooks, 70: "By the middle of the century, Zwinglianism is an outmoded and unhistorical term (although, of course, the 'Reformed' schooi undoubtedly owed much to the clarity of Zwingli's theology)." At least in England at mid-century, where all the leading controversialists acknowledged their reading of Zwingli, they owed it explicitly and openly. His name often appears in their writings, although more as an important point of reference than as an authority to be embraced without modification. See also n. 36, below.

(17.) Peter Martyr. fol. 15r

(18.) Gardiner, Explication, sig. G7v: Gardiner cites Philipp Melanchthon's warning to Oecolampadius.

(19.) Cranmer, 1965 (hereafter Defence), 71; Foxe, 6:453 (the Catholic Weston to Cranmer, ventriloquizing the latter's argument); Calvin, 1961 (hereafter Institutes), 2:1362.

(20.) Cf. a particularly clear instance of the same technique in Foxe, who cites Cranmer: "Christ is seen here in earth every day; is touched, is torn with the teeth, that our tongue is red with his blood; which no man having any judgment will say or think to be spoken without trope or figure" (6:453). For a less sympathetic and less political response to Cranmer's appropriation of realist language, see MacCulloch, 491-92. For a moving passage about spiritual hunger, see Cranmer, Defence, 66-68.

(21.) The heart of the Derrida-Ricoeur dispute is to be found in Derrida, esp. 54-57; and Ricoeur, 1979, esp. 280-95. See also 3. H. Anderson, 1998, 237-42. For Derrida, apparently "dead" metaphors have active metaphorical roots; for Ricoeur, dead metaphors do not affect the sublated concepts that etymologically and, in Derrida's argument, systemically derive from them.

(22.) Cf. de Certeau's realistic balance regarding resistance when he describes it as "tricky and stubborn procedures that elude discipline without being outside the field in which it is exercised" and, I would elucidate, without being outside the categories and consequences of this dominant field (96). See Bynum, 1992, chap 6; 1987, chaps. 6-7; 1995, chap. 6.

(23.) Gardiner, Explication, sig. O4v-O5r. OED offers no help on ingling, which clearly means "deceptively" or "dishonestly" and could conceivably relate to the meaning of ingle, or "catamite." To Gardiner's exposition of matter, compare Peter Martyr, fol. 19v: Catholics "put and hold the quantitee that is in the Sacrament to bee a quantitee in manier onely Mathematicall, that is to saie, not reall nor materiall in dede, but separated and deuided from all materiall substaunce, that maie bee seen or felte, and consisting in our imagination onely and in our understandyng, which quantitee if it be diuided or broken in pieces, it is onely so conceiued in our reason, & by vertue of our understandyng."

(24.) Derrida, 48, 50; J. H. Anderson, 1998, 238.

(25.) On Cranmer's nominalism, see McGee, 189-216; the challenge to McGee's essay by Courtenay, 367-80; and McGee's response, 192-96. Also, on the sacramental bread and wine as "self-enclosed, empirical objects of the Nominalist tradition," see Richardson, 427. While MacCulloch acknowledges a "nominalist element" in Cranmer's training at Cambridge, he is skeptical about attempts to show that Cranmer's thinking is nominalist in a comprehensive sense (491).

(26.) Edwards, 3: s.v., Essence; 8: s.v., Substance.

(27.) Ibid., 8: s.v., Substance.

(28.) Cranmer's Defence affords a specific gloss on "sacramentally": "for he is not in it, neither spiritually, as he is in man; nor corporally, as he is in heaven; but only sacramentally, as a thing maybe said to be in the figure, whereby it is signified" (214). In one sense "sacramentally" is a redundant word in Cranmer's response to Ogelthorpe, but it also looks like an effort to signal something more than a "mere" symbol.

(29.) Aristotle, 1:282: Sophistical Refutations 167a 1-20 (example of the Ethiopian who can be denominated "black," although he has white teeth). I am much indebted to Paul Spade for my explanation of derivation.

(30.) Aristotle, 1:3, 16: Categories, la 13-15, 10a 27-10b 1-11.

(31.) Berger, "Metaphor and Metonymy," on Summa Theologica, 1.67, 1, resp. See also McInerny, 131-33; Aquinas, 1.13, 5-6, resp, 1.67, 1, resp.

(32.) My emphasis. For "denominating form," see McInerny, 133; Aquinas, 1.13, 11, resp.: "unumquodque enim denominatur a sua forma."

(33.) Lewis and Short, s.v., Denominatio. See also Principe, 212, n. 14.

(34.) Discussing the validity of the statements "Deus est homo" and "Verbum est homo," Scotus concludes, "For the supposit subsisting in any nature, as the supposit of the nature, expresses [something that is] formally such according to that nature; now that [hypostatic] union is believed to be of such a kind, that through it the Word subsists in human nature, as a supposit does in a nature; therefore through it the Word is formally man....But 'god' signifies a name that is both common [to several Persons, i.e., the Trinity] and that in any one hypostasis, that is person, is ordered denominatively, just as is the case with [the name] 'man'. For it is God who has divine nature, and man who has human nature. The minor premise is proved by Augustine... That assumption was of such a kind that it would make God man, and man, God' (3.7.1, n. 3, translation mine and my emphasis on denominatively).

(35.) On Scotus's view of the hypostatic union and particularly of the role of the human will in salvation, see J. H. Anderson, 1976, 133-34, 136-40.

(36.) Cranmer, Defence, 227: my emphasis on the rhetoric is relevant. Cranmer, by his own testimony, had read "almost everything that has been written and published either by Oecolampadius or Zwingli" (MacCulloch, 180). On Cranmer's various views, see MacCulloch, 181-83 and chap. 9; also Brooks, e.g., 37, 43-44, et passim. Cranmer (Answer, 225) compares Bucer to Oecolampadius and Zwingli; Gardiner (Explication, sig. N7r) cites Zwingli, as he does elsewhere. Peter Martyr's Discourse on the Sacrament specifically examines and compares the doctrines of the Lutherans and Zwinglians: e.g., fols. 91v-107r. My own use of the term Zwinglian is also meant to signal a kind of influence through other, more mixed and moderate channels such as Martin Bucer, Peter Martyr, and at a greater distance, Johann Heinrich Bullinger and Philipp Melanchthon,

(37.) As Cranmer acknowledged at his trial in 1555, Ridley was the agent by whom his views on the Eucharist changed from real presence to a more decidedly reformed position that rejected real (corporeal) presence (MacCulloch, 355).

(38.) Qtd. in Foxe, 6:311, my emphasis; 331.

(39.) Cf. Cranmer's indignant response to Gardiner: "I declare, in my book, virtue to be in them that godly receive bread and wine and not in the bread and wine. And I take virtue there to signify might and strength, or force, as I name it (which in the Greek is called [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], after which sense we say, that there is virtue in herbs, in words, and in stones), and not to signify virtue in holiness (which in Greek is called [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), whereof a person is called virtuous, whose faith and conversation is godly" (Answer, 181). In the passage at issue between Cranmer and Gardiner, the Archbishop actually writes "to [not in] them that worthily eat and drink" the bread and wine, these elements "be turned not into the corporeal presence, but into the virtue of Christ's flesh and blood" (Defence, 187). Whereas holiness is not substantial, the "virtue" he seems to have in mind appears similar to the substantialis vigor that Calvin sees flowing from Christ the head to the members: see Gernish, 1993b, 179-80, n72. Cranmer's response to Gardiner is also sensitive to the distinction between what the receptor or worthy recipient of the sacrament initiates and what belongs to grace and God.

(40.) This systematic connection might be conceived as an abstract one and aligned with Calvin's use of the phrase "abstractum aliquid a substantia" to characterize "the vital power we receive ... from the substance" of Christ in the Supper, a phrase that Gerrish finds "unfortunate" and puzzling, since Christ himself is supposed to be the eucharistic gift in Calvin's theology of the sacrament (Gernish, 1993b, 179-180, n72). Ridley's explanation perhaps clarifies Calvin's. Hall, 253, takes a Calvinist statement regarding the substance of Christ's body to mean "the fundamental reality": such a translation is hardly unambiguous.

(41.) Gerrish's treatment of Calvin's concern with and for the object (Gerrish 1993b, 16768, 177-80) is more nuanced and convincing than Waswo's identification of Calvin's concept of symbolism with Coleridge's: "a mystical participation of the sign in the thing, of the temporal, material symbol in the eternal, spiritual signified" (255).

(42.) Hooper, 128, 190-91. Hooper's Answer was originally published in Zurich, 1547.

(43.) Foxe 6:462

(44.) In addition to Gerrish, 1993b, see 1982, esp. chaps. 6-7; 1988, 377-95; and 1993a, esp. chap. 3.

(45.) Hall, 254, notes that Cranmer "never mentions Calvin in his published writings on the eucharist."

(46.) MacCulloch, 488.

(47.) Cf. MacCulloch: Cranmer "would not have enjoyed the language which Calvin in self-assertive mood could use, that the sacraments 'confer' or 'contain' grace" (616). Also, cf. Calvin, Institutes, 2:1403, regarding the nature of true presence in the sacrament: "it is a secret too lofty for either my mind to comprehend or my words to declare. And, to speak more plainly, I rather experience than understand it."

(48.) Foxe, 6:445

(49.) Although Cranmer's Answer was first published in 1551, he revised and thereby re-authorized the text while in prison.

(50.) Gerrish, 1993b, 177-80. Cf. Calvin, Treatise: "the inward substance of the sacrament is annexed to the visible signs" (441); the figure is "joined unto his verity and substance" (440); "he refresheth us with his own proper substance" (442).

(51.) Gardiner, Explication, sigs. F4v-F5r; Cranmer, Answer, 90.

(52.) When confronted by Bucer's use of the analogy of sunbeams and substance, Cranmer hotly objects that Bucer "denieth utterly that Christ is really and substantially present in the bread, either by conversion or inclusion, but in the ministration he affirmeth Christ to be present; and so do I also" (Answer, 225). Cf. also Peter Martyr's distinction between the eye and its eyesight, which he compares to that between the sun and its sunbeams in order to illustrate a non-corporeal extension of virtue or power (fol. 95r).

(53.) In connection with the yearning of the English people for the corporeal presence, see the impressive historical studies of Duffy and Rubin. Also relevant is chapter 1 of Aers and Staley.

(54.) Peter Martyr, fol. 106v-07r. Cf. Bucer, 56-57: "Certainly the Holy Fathers understood ... no other change in the elements than one by which the bread and wine, in their own nature and in the permanence in all circumstances of their natural characteristics, were changed from their usual and ordinary use and were, as we might say, 'transelemented' so that they became symbols of the body and blood and thus of the whole Christ, both God and man [ex vulgare communique usu, eo mutarentur, et quasi transelementarentur, ut iam essent eiusmodi corporis, et sanguinis, adeoque Christi ipsius totius, Dei et hominis ... symbola]." At Cranmer's request, Bucer offered in the Censura detailed suggestions for revision of the 1549 prayerbook.

(55.) "in them" (Answer, 181).

(56.) Peter Martyr, fol. 105r. In the Friendly Exegesis of the sacrament that Zwingli addresses to Luther, he comments on the use by earlier apologists of the image of a hot iron or blade as an analogy for the two natures of Christ, and twits his German opponent for applying it, as Cranmer does, to the Eucharist: "This metaphor you took from them if you confess it. If you deny it, you pilfered it and twisted it to support the notion of the flesh in the bread, Luther" (320-21). On realist language: MacCulloch interprets (or to my mind, misinterprets) Cranmer's use of realist language as merely resulting from rhetorical insensitivity (491-92).

(57.) See MacCulloch, 630-32. Brook's discussion of language in the Book of Common Prayer is pertinent as well.

(58.) "Ricoeur, 1979a, 142.

(59.) E.g., Peter Martyr, fols. 48v, 104v; cf. Gardiner, Explication, sig. L4r: "the Sacrament is [to the reformers] but a visible preachyng." That it is arguably also more than "merely" (as Gardiner's "but" implies) for Cranmer and Ridley does not negate the point at hand. But cf. Hall, 232-33, who distinguishes between sacraments as visible words and a presentation or exhibition of "the Presence."

(60.) Houston, 115-30; Ricoeur, 1979a, 147-48; Henle, esp. 87-88; Pierce, e.g., 251-52.

(61.) Houston, 125-26; Ricoeur, 1979a, 148-49.


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