This essay explores Thomas More's understanding of the role of the recipient's virtue in activating the full power of Christ's body in the Eucharist in his A Treatise on the Passion of Christe and A Treatise to receive the blessed body of our lorde, sacramentally and virtually bothe. Though passionately committed to the doctrine of the Real Presence, More writes that the body of Christ, while fully present, is not in and of itself entirely sufficient to complete the work of the sacrament if the recipient is not virtuous and receives the sacrament unworthily. An unvirtuous recipient receives only bodily, which is to say not completely — not, in More's terms, virtually. An unvirtuous recipient is not the only means by which the full power of the Eucharist may be compromised. Because the Incarnation and transubstantiation involve transformations of word and bodies into each other, it is not surprising that More's concerns with the sacrament, virtue, and the virtual also involve language. In the Dialogue Concerning Heresy, More strenuously criticizes Tyndale's translation of scripture. This essay also examines the ways in which More's objections to Tyndale's translation understand its destructive power as rooted in linguistic choices that disrupt the crucial nexus of virtue, the virtual, and the corporeal. In More's view, Tyndale's Bible thus deserves immolation along with the heretics themselves.
Virtual Reality: Virtue, the Eucharist, and Translation in the Writings of Thomas More
Nancy Bradley Warren; Virtual Reality: Virtue, the Eucharist, and Translation in the Writings of Thomas More. Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 1 September 2022; 52 (3): 483–501. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10829636-9966093
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