'His langage is lorne': The Silent Centre of the York Cycle

Alexandra F. Johnston

Abstract


In their portrayal of the character of Christ, the York playwrights exploited the concept of logos. In the plays of the ministry and again in the post-resurrection plays, he is indeed, 'The Word on the Street', actively teaching and preaching the ways of holy living openly, colloquially, humanly. But at the centre of the sequence, in the hands of his enemies, Christ, the logos, falls silent. The playwrights understood Christ to be the Word and the Word to be Truth. The action of the trial plays is based on deceit and lies, reflecting Peraldus' exposition of the 'peccata linguae'. All the Word needs to do is stand silent, to be the 'still centre' and even as they condemn him his enemies condemn themselves out of their own mouths.

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