Published online by Cambridge University Press: 22 February 2020
Chapter 3 considers the development of scholastic exegesis outside the universities, focusing on the Yorkshire hermit-mystic Richard Rolle (d. 1349). With only a limited university education, Rolle turned to scholastic commentary, especially on the Psalms, to create material for devotional reading, and he wove authoritative opinions quarried from major scholastic sources together with glosses that read different psalms as describing his distinctive mystical experiences. Rolle wrote two Psalter commentaries reflecting these priorities, first in Latin and then in English, with the later work representing a substantial revision of the earlier one. After assessing the development of his interpretive program across these texts, the influence of Rolle’s vernacular commentary is then charted, focusing on its revision in the last quarter of the century and the various works that imitate its form. Finally, by considering the citations of Rolle’s works by Oxford theologian Richard Ullerston, this chapter reveals the success of Rolle’s hermeneutic project, arguing that the hermit returned to the university with an authority that was at once scholastic and devotional.