Conclusion: Looking for “Reality”

Stephen Murray

in A Gothic Sermon

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780520238473
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930070 | DOI:
Conclusion: Looking for “Reality”

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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A successful preacher might have learned his métier from listening to others, from transcribing sermons as they were delivered, or from studying written transcripts. The result might draw more on long-established rhetorical traditions than on specific local problems or circumstances. The preacher might have experimented with various formulas and strategies until he found something that obtained the desired reaction. In this way, the character of the audience might affect the preacher's performance. A rural landholder might be able to accumulate a small fortune as the agrarian standard of living rose, aided by improvements in plows and mills and lively increases in the prices of commodities, especially grain. The sermon's fund-raising agenda was apparently directed to the latter. Some members of the congregation might have commanded substantial resources, which are suggested by the preacher's allusion to scolding one's servant.

Keywords: métier; transcripts; commodities; congregation; servant

Chapter.  3812 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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