Amy G. Tan
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The call to preach and the question of printed sermons
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Through an examination of the editions of Bernard’s popular clerical manual, Chapter 3 provides new insight into the early modern debate about the nature and uses of religious print. It also helps frame the question of what distinguished a pastor-author, actively pursuing ministry through print and thinking about how readers would respond to different types of material, from the larger number of ministers who had a sermon printed here or there, but did not actively engage with print as part of their pastoral vocation. The chapter begins with an analysis of Bernard’s clerical manual, The Faithfull Shepheard, and explores shifts in his approach over three editions (1607, 1609, and 1621), with later editions suggesting Bernard’s increasing awareness of, and willingness to accommodate, his readers’ needs for explanation and demonstration of the principles he espoused. The second portion of the chapter addresses Bernard’s approach to printed sermons. By examining several publications that Bernard based upon sermons, we see that he maintained the common contemporary understanding that the Word preached orally had special spiritual use and power that could not be replicated in print. Yet rather than driving him away from publishing sermon materials, this led him to consider how sermon material might be presented differently in print, to achieve other, distinct, purposes. Altogether, this chapter allows us to more fully understand the place of printed sermons – and print more generally – within godly pastoral contexts.

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The pastor in print

Genre, audience, and religious change in early modern England