Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Seminars on Early Modern Preaching: Regional and Parochial Preaching

A One-Day Colloquium
University of Birmingham, Friday 3rd of April, 2009

While awareness of the cultural, religious, and political significance of sermons delivered in elite venues is growing, scholars of early modern preaching still have much to learn about preaching elsewhere: the routine pastoral work carried out in parish churches, and occasional preaching in the provinces. How did the preachers of assize and quarter session sermons engage with communal or regional politics? How did their sermons function as a ‘point of contact’ between national and regional government? Who chose the preachers, and what was their relationship with the community they addressed? Many of the same questions could be asked of parochial preaching: How did preachers address friction or disputes within their parish? How did they act as a conduit for national politics, particularly when obliged to read proclamations from the pulpits? How did they address the rites of passage marked by church liturgies, such as christenings, churchings, weddings and funerals, particularly where those rituals were the subject of theological dispute? How were the preachers’ relations with their parishioners negotiated? In what ways did ministers balance disputes over their benefice with a sense of responsibility towards those for whom they had a ‘cure of souls’?

This colloquium is the second in the Seminars in Early Modern Preaching series, which aims to provide a scholarly forum for those working on all aspects of early modern English sermons. We invite proposals for 30-minute papers. Abstracts should be no more than 300 words. Please e-mail submissions to Dr Mary Morrissey ( and Dr Hugh Adlington (

Due date for submissions: 30 September, 2008.


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