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The Influence of Humanism on Post-Reformation Catholic Preachers in France*

  • Larissa Juliet Taylor (a1)

Extract

Prior to the reformation, most sermons given in France were structured according to the “modern method” of division and subdivision, which proceeded in rather artificial fashion from theme to protheme, then to the elaboration of theological points and exempla. Those who deviated from this form, such as Jean Vitrier, were lavishly praised by humanists such as Erasmus, but were often sufficiently heterodox in other respects to attract the attention of the Paris Faculty of Theology. In the first decade after the outbreak of the Reformation in France, the modern method persisted, but by the 1530s it had been replaced almost completely by a much freer and more expressive rendering of theological and Biblical material. This was accompanied by an equally major change in the language of printing: by the mid-sixteenth century, almost all popular sermons were printed in French, whereas their earlier counterparts had been printed exclusively in Latin.

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*

An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Society for French Historical Studies, Chico, CA, March 1993. Funding was provided by a National Endowment for the Humanities Travel-to-Collections Grant. I am grateful to the following for their comments and criticism: Barbara Diefendorf, Nancy Roelker, Larry Bryant and Mark Konnert.

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References

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