Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Seminars on Early Modern Preaching: Uses of Secular Language

A One-Day Colloquium
Early Modern Research Centre, University of Reading, Saturday 3 November 2007

It is well known that sermons build on, and contribute to, biblical exegesis; less studied is the way that many of their arguments depend upon more worldly discourses, and on knowledge of other disciplines, such as medicine, law, commerce, philosophy, and political theory, to name but a few. A number of questions follow. Are the uses of non-theological terms and precepts found in early modern sermons simply examples of the preacher accommodating himself to his audience by reflecting their interests? Was a sermon more likely to edify via the technique of instantiation, borrowing the vocabulary of worldly wisdom to illustrate religious abstractions? What might the use of terminology drawn from other fields of thought and practice demonstrate about the education of early modern clergymen, as well as their professional and intellectual interests? Can we learn something of the relationship between, and the relative weight accorded to, secular and religious discourses in early modern Britain through the study of the worldly arguments embedded in sacred rhetoric?

This colloquium responds to the burgeoning of scholarly interest in early modern sermons; it also aims to maintain, and build on, momentum achieved at the two-day conference - Preaching and Politics in Early Modern Britain - held in Cambridge in November 2006.

We invite proposals for 30-minute papers. Abstracts should be no more than 300 words. Please e-mail submissions to Dr Mary Morrissey (m.e.morrissey@reading.ac.uk) and Dr Hugh Adlington (hugh@adlingtonc.freeserve.co.uk).

Due date for submissions: 1 May 2007.


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