Book Series Sermo, vol. 3

The Last Judgement in Medieval Preaching

Thom Mertens, Maria Sherwood-Smith, Michael Mecklenburg, Hans-Jochen Schiewer (eds)

  • Pages: 185 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2013

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-51524-3
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-53967-6
  • E-book
  • Available

This collection provides new essays on the theme of the Last Judgement in medieval sermons from across Europe.


“Das Buch ist gut ausgestattet und mit einem Handschriften- und Namenregister versehen. Der Band leistet einen konstruktiven Beitrag zur Mediävistik und Literaturgeschichte und ist zugleich als Werk zum Predigtwesen und zur mittelalterlichen Eschatologie von großem Interesse.” (Natalija Ganina, in: Zeitschrift für deutsches Altertum und deutsche Literatur, vol. 144, 2015/1, p. 122)

"Although sermons are particularly resistant to book-length analysis, this volume is impressively coherent. (...) The chapters of this book echo one another in method, theme, and detail, reinforcing the main ideas rather than duplicating them and so yielding the reader a growing familiarity with the topic. Together they provide insight not only into sermons on Judgement but also about ways to study sermons and, by implication, other genres of medieval writing. They are also succinct and readable; despite being packed with detail - there's nothing vague or amorphous here - they are consistently fascinating. The overlap among the various voices in the volume contributes to a well-integrated collection, with chapters coalescing to provide a clear overview of the way medieval preachers across Europe treated the Last Judgement." (Marsha Dutton, in: Sehepunkte, 15/7-8, 15.07.2015)

"I sin helhet är antologin ett viktigt bidrag till både predikostudier och religionshistoria. (...)  Sammantaget är denna volym en bra och inspirerande läsning, och ett mycket välkommet tillägg till medeltidsstudier med sitt jämförande tillvägagångssätt. Med sitt fokus på predikan om endast en läropunkt har den lyckats ge en nyanserad bild av variationen mellan olika områden i det medeltida Europa." (Inka Moilanen, in: Svenskt Gudstjänstliv, 90, 2015, p. 224-229)

« (…) l’ouvrage propose de riches contributions (…) [que] sont d’un intérêt indéniable et la variété méthodologique des approches est un point fort du livre. » (Véronique Beaulande-Barraud, dans la Revue d’histoire Ecclésiastique, 3-4, 2016, p. 766) 


In the Middle Ages, the sermon was a powerful and versatile means of bringing the Word of God to the people. In fact, in the oral culture of that period, it was the primary medium for Christian clergy to convey religious education to lay audiences. Moreover, the sermon played an important role in the liturgy and life of the religious orders. With the growth of lay literacy the sermon collection also developed into a vernacular literary genre of its own.

Two aspects of Christian piety, hopeful expectation on the one hand, and fearful anticipation on the other, were decisive factors for the shaping of religious life and practical pastoral care. Both these aspects were often brought to the fore in sermons on the Last Judgement as part of a recurrent argument against a life too much oriented towards the world. The preachers dwell on both the Particular Judgement occurring immediately after death and the General Judgement over the whole of creation at the end of times.

This volume brings together scholars from several European countries with the purpose to present their research on the theme of the Last Judgement in medieval sermons. The scope of scholars is broadened to incorporate not only specialists in sermon studies, but also historians, theologians, and literary historians to encourage research along new, multi-perspectival lines.


Introduction: The Last Judgement in Medieval Sermons — MICHAEL MECKLENBURG AND THOM MERTENS

The Last Judgement in Medieval Latin Model Sermons — STEPHAN BORGEHAMMAR

The Last Judgement in Medieval English Prose Sermons: An Overview — VERONICA O’MARA

The Last Judgement in Middle Dutch Sermons on the Sunday Gospel — THOM MERTENS

The Last Judgement in Old Swedish Sermons: A Popular Affair — ROGER ANDERSSON

The Last Judgement in Middle Dutch Sermons and its Role in the Dutch Translation of the Homilies of Gregory the Great — MARIA SHERWOOD-SMITH

The Advent of Christ as Judge: A Sermon Composed by the Augustinian Hermit Johannes von Paltz in 1487 — CHRISTOPH BURGER

Catastrophe Sermons and Apocalyptic Expectations: Eudes de Châteauroux and the Earthquake of 1269 in Viterbo — JUSSI HANSKA 

The ‘Last Things’ as Represented in a Series of Sermons on Revelation 22. 14–15 by Johannes Nider OP — CAROLA REDZICH

How to Represent the Future: Narratological Aspects of Preaching and Performing the Last Judgement — MICHAEL MECKLENBURG