Circulating the Word of God in Medieval and Early Modern Europe: Catholic Preaching and Preachers Across Manuscript and Print (C. 1450 to C. 1550) (Hardcover)
This volume concentrates on how the sermon, a pivotal element in mass communication, aimed to shape the people of Europe. Rather than setting up the usual binary divides, it highlights the linguistic complications, the textual inter-relationships, the confessional cross-currents, and the variations between public and private sermon dissemination operating at different rates and with variable results throughout Europe. Effectively the emphasis here is on how Catholic preachers and Catholic preaching carried on in the period between the handwritten and the printed sermon, a time when not only the mode of production was changing but when the very purpose and meaning of preaching itself would soon alter in a western Christian world that was becoming no longer completely Catholic. By examining case-studies chosen from countries with contrasting manuscript and printing traditions (Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Low Countries, Romania, Spain, and Sweden), we aim to examine some of the main historical, literary, and theological factors in the development of the sermon in Latin and the vernaculars, which is itself in the process of changing formats, and sometimes languages, at a time of religious ferment from the advent of print to the death of Martin Luther. These essays, which are effectively in dialogue with each other, are divided into geographical/linguistic sections organized along broadly chronological lines. They circulate from the peripheries of Europe to the centre, moving from areas where evidence is now scarce to situations of thriving production.