Preaching and Printing: Early Modes of Mass Communication

in Why Europe

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780226532530
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226532387 | DOI:
Preaching and Printing: Early Modes of Mass Communication

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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This chapter discusses preaching and printing—two significant phenomena of mass communication involving orality and literacy. Medieval preaching tended toward mass communication wherever there were special preaching campaigns. The sermon preaching a Crusade was a decisive turning point in this regard. It not only addressed a large local audience but reached a like-minded public outside that narrower group. Mass communication based on literacy emerged from the replication of written texts. Reproduction using printing techniques, as opposed to copying manuscripts, heralded a revolutionary innovation. China invented printing long before Europe did, and it spread from there to other East Asian countries.

Keywords: mass communications; orality; literacy; medieval Europe; China

Chapter.  16960 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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