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The Art Of Preaching

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Chapter Summary

Eighteenth-century reflection on the art of preaching was conveyed not only in treatises or lectures on the eloquence of the pulpit usually targeted at students reading rhetoric or divinity, but also in poetry, diaries, memoirs and correspondence. Protestant and Catholic preachers on both sides of the Channel shared a common heritage of thorough training in classical rhetoric. The main difference between pulpit oratory and other forms of public discourse lay precisely in the fact that the purpose of a sermon was edification. Treatises on the art of preaching had imbibed the classical rhetorical tradition, embraced the ideology of moderation, and developed an aesthetics of surprise in keeping with the oral character of the genre. Artes praedicandi and preachers assistants may still be with us, albeit in a slightly modernised version.

Keywords: Artes praedicandi ; Catholic preachers; preaching; Protestant; pulpit oratory

10.1163/ej.9789004171558.i-414.19
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