Book Series Sermo, vol. 17

Circulating the Word of God in Medieval and Early Modern Europe

Catholic Preaching and Preachers across Manuscript and Print (c. 1450 to c. 1550)

Veronica O'Mara, Patricia Stoop (eds)

  • Pages: 516 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:14 b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2023

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-58515-4
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-58516-1
  • E-book
  • Available
  • Contains contributions in Open Access

Explores how the sermon crosses so-called binary divides - Latin and the vernaculars, manuscript and print, Catholicism and Protestantism, and public and private - to have a profound impact on European religious culture.


“It would be unfair to characterise this collection as anything other than an impressive and valuable contribution to the ever-continuing scholarly work of making our understanding of Europe’s Catholic past just a little less dim.” (Mitchell Thompson, in Parergon, 40/2, 2023, p. 236)

“This collection of essays devoted to late medieval-early modern sermons should be seen as a model for future volumes on medieval preaching. Because of the presentation of both primary and secondary sources, it presents textual evidence for the main subject of the essay and also provides the resources for subsequent studies of these preachers and their sermons.” (Steven J McMichael, OFM Conv., in The Medieval Review, 15/01/2024)

“Die Herausgeberin der Reihe „Sermo“ ist hier eine nicht genügend zu lobende Ausnahme. Es bleibt zu hoffen, dass die Essays des vorliegenden Bandes 17 dieser Publikationsreihe dazu beitragen, den interdisziplinären Austausch über die Konfessionsgrenzen hinweg anzuregen” (Markus Wriedt, in in der Historischen Zeitschrift, 318/2, 2024, p. 449)


Veronica O’Mara is Visiting Research Fellow in the Institute for Medieval Studies at the University of Leeds.

Patricia Stoop is a Researcher in the Department of Literature and an Associate Member of the Ruusbroec Institute at the University of Antwerp.


This volume concentrates on how the sermon, a pivotal element in mass communication, aimed to shape the people of Europe. Rather than setting up the usual binary divides, it highlights the linguistic complications, the textual inter-relationships, the confessional cross-currents, and the variations between public and private sermon dissemination operating at different rates and with variable results throughout Europe. Effectively the emphasis here is on how Catholic preachers and Catholic preaching carried on in the period between the handwritten and the printed sermon, a time when not only the mode of production was changing but when the very purpose and meaning of preaching itself would soon alter in a western Christian world that was becoming no longer completely Catholic. By examining case-studies chosen from countries with contrasting manuscript and printing traditions (Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Low Countries, Romania, Spain, and Sweden), we aim to examine some of the main historical, literary, and theological factors in the development of the sermon in Latin and the vernaculars, which is itself in the process of changing formats, and sometimes languages, at a time of religious ferment from the advent of print to the death of Martin Luther. These essays, which are effectively in dialogue with each other, are divided into geographical/linguistic sections organized along broadly chronological lines. They circulate from the peripheries of Europe to the centre, moving from areas where evidence is now scarce to situations of thriving production.


Acknowledgements, Abbreviations, List of Illustrations

Veronica O’Mara and Patricia Stoop, 'Introduction'


Anne T. Thayer, ‘Books for Preaching and Preaching with Books: Late Medieval Latin Printed Sermons and the Witness of Thomas Swalwell of Durham Priory’

Veronica O’Mara, ‘The Early Printed Sermon in England between 1483 and 1532: A Peculiar Phenomenon’


Jussi Hanska, ‘Preaching in Finland on the Eve of the Reformation and Beyond: The Evidence from Manuscript and Print’

Jonathan Adams, ‘Christiern Pedersen’s Alle Epistler oc Euangelia (1515): Reading a Catholic Text in the Danish Reformation’

Christer Pahlmblad, ‘The Word of God Purely Preached: Continuity and Change in the Postils of the Swedish Reformation’


Adinel Dincăand, Paula Cotoi, ‘Latin Manuscript and Printed Sermons in Late Medieval Transylvania (1470–1530)’

Romance Regions

Oriol Catalán, ‘Controversial Topics in the Sermons of Vicent Ferrer’: From Manuscripts to the Printing Press’

Sophie Delmas, ‘From Nicholas de Biard’s Summa abstinentia to the Printed Dictionnarius pauperum: A Pastoral Compendium for Preachers’

Pietro Delcorno, ‘A Forgotten Italian Best Seller: Ludovico Pittorio’s Omiliario quadragesimale

Germanic Lands

Ralf Lützelschwab, ‘The Neglected Carmelites: Evidence for Their Preaching Activities in Late Medieval Germany’

Natalija Ganina, ‘Johannes Kreutzer: A Preacher in Strasbourg and Basle and His Work in Manuscript and Early Print’

Rita Voltmer, ‘Instructio, correctio, and reformatio: Johannes Geiler von Kaysersberg and the Transmisson of his Sermons’

The Low Countries

Thom Mertens, ‘The Gouda Gospel Sermons: The Glosses of a Successful Middle Dutch Pericope Collection (1477–1553)’

Kees Schepers, ‘Diverging Perceptions: Johannes Tauler in Sixteenth-Century Printed Editions’

Patricia Stoop, ‘Strategies of Publishing: The Case of Franciscus Costerus’