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date: 18 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the sermon in post-Reformation England, and its development as the pre-eminent genre of instruction, edification, and conversion to Christian believers of all stripes. Beginning with its roots in traditional religious and classical forms and its development as a flexible form restrained by ecclesiastical regulation, censorship, and gender, the chapter emphasizes the sermon’s radically occasional nature and its elusive performative impact. The chapter explores the experience of sermon delivery and reception in oral and written forms, shaped by the institutional and public settings in which it was delivered, and by the historical/political contexts (both national and local) in which it emerged. Connections to other genres—plays, conduct books, catechisms, newsbooks, satiric pamphlets are also outlined. The chapter emphasizes the sermon as a form with family features adapted to local circumstances with an inherently political and controversial potential both at the moment of delivery and beyond.

Keywords: preacher, hearer, lecture, reception history, exegesis, homiletics, politics, sermon, Scripture, rhetoric

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