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Abstract

This dissertation treats three authors at the prominent Collège de Navarre at the cusp of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries: Jean Gerson, Pierre d’Ailly, and Nicolas de Clamanges. It describes their attempts to constellate terminist philosophy of language, emergent vernacular literary theories, and Christian devotional discourse around a reforming vision of academic theology. It explicates the Navarrists’ bold claim that poetry should be the privileged avenue for theological production, given that it faithfully embodies the contingencies and affective contours of human life. By considering the literary and academic-philosophical qualities of the Navarrists’ poetic theology, the dissertation highlights the underacknowledged influences of vernacular literature and nascent humanism on the academic theology of the era, challenging preconceived notions about the systematicity, precision, and insularity of late-medieval scholastic thought.

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