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English Preaching in the Late Middle Ages$
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H. Leith Spencer

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780198112037

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198112037.001.0001

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Sermon Form

Sermon Form

(p.228) 6 Sermon Form
English Preaching in the Late Middle Ages

H. Leith Spencer

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the ancient and modern forms of sermons and the methods of sermon construction. Compilers of vernacular preaching who expressed vehement support for gospel-based preaching prefer the ancient method, because this type of sermon accommodated extended commentary on scripture and because it followed the tradition of the Church Fathers. G. R. Owst contended that c.1400 there was a revival of preaching in imitation of the ancient homilies. This chapter examines this claim and argues that up to a point he may have been right. This kind of preaching was never forgotten in the Middle Ages, and special historical circumstances in the late fourteenth and fifteen century seem to have had the incidental effect of bringing ancient homilies into fresh prominence.

Keywords:   sermons, sermon construction, gospel-based preaching, G.R. Owst, ancient homilies, preaching

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