The pastor in print

Genre, audience, and religious change in early modern England

Amy G. Tan
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This study analyses the career choices and religious contexts of early modern pastors who chose to become print authors, addressing ways that the ability to publish could enhance, limit, or change pastoral ministry. It demonstrates ways ministers strategically tailored content and genre to achieve certain religious goals among both clerical and lay audiences, and considers ways in which authorship was interconnected with parish work as well as one’s position within the national church. The book features an extended case study of Richard Bernard, a particularly prolific pastor-author whose career provides a coherent framework through which to analyse key features of early modern pastoral-authorial work. It further gives attention to George Gifford, Thomas Wilson, and Samuel Hieron, each of whose career circumstances and authorial choices broaden our view of different ways clerics might incorporate print as an intentional part of their religious vocation. As the first book-length analysis of the phenomenon of early modern pastors writing for print, this study provides a paradigm for understanding these clerics’ efforts in print and parish as an integral part of their careers and their overarching religious goals. By addressing pastoral-authorial work across the span of a career, and by considering how pastor-authors engaged a wide range of topics and genres, the study engages with multiple areas of current scholarly interest: censorship, private religious devotion, polemic, witchcraft, religious education, reference works, and more. The study provides a remarkably comprehensive picture of pastoral publishing and offers a new lens through which to view the intersection of emerging print technologies and religious work in this pivotal period.

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