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Title: Rhetoric, religion and politics in the St. Paul's Cross sermons, 1603-1625
Author: Morrissey, Mary Esther
ISNI:       0000 0001 3425 8251
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1998
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This thesis investigates the sermons delivered at Paul's Cross, the outdoor pulpit at St. Paul's Cathedral, during the reign of James I. It examines the preachers' use of rhetoric to influence the religious and political attitudes of contemporaries by comparing theories of preaching, found in sacred rhetorics and other tracts, to preachers' practice in their sermons. By this method, arguments associated particularly with Paul's Cross and its London audience can be identified and the rhetorical, doctrinal and socio-political aspects of Jacobean preaching, which are fragmented in much of the current scholarship, can be integrated. The thesis consists of five 'case studies' in the functions of rhetoric in sermons on different subjects. A short introduction reviews current scholarship on seventeenth-century preaching and describes the methodology used. Chapter I examines political preaching, focusing on John Donne's 1622 sermon defending James I's Directions concerning Preachers (STC 7053). It demonstrates the importance of the division between the 'exposition' of the scriptural text from its 'application' to the hearers in political preaching. The second chapter looks at preaching on religious controversies. It compares the rhetorical techniques of polemical sermons with those of recantation sermons preached by converts. Examining this topic in relation to William Crashaw's Sermon preached at the Crosse of 1608 (STC 6027) and Theophilus Higgon's recantation sermon of 1611 (STC 13455.7), this chapter shows the centrality of arguments based on the opponent's character (ethos) to controversial preaching. Chapter III studies exhortation with reference to Joseph Hall's Pharisaisme and Christianity (1608; STC 12699). It demonstrates that persuasion was considered a function of argumentation, not rhetorical ornament. It also examines the disabling of rhetoric in exhortations to charity by the Church's strict sola fide doctrine. The arguments for plain or ornamented preaching styles and their relation to the role of the preacher in the Church are discussed in Chapter IV, on Daniel Featley's 1618 sermon The Spouse her Pretious Borders (STC 10730). This chapter investigates preaching decorum and the debates over the display of rhetoric and learning in the pulpit. The 'prophetic sermon' or 'Jeremiad' is examined in Chapter V, on Thomas Adams' The Gallant's Burden (1612; STC 117). The characteristic use of biblical types and examples in these sermons is re-examined and the current argument that the use of Old Testtament examples suggests a 'special relationship' between God and England is denied.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: British Academy ; University of Cambridge
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Jacobean; Preaching; Religious; Prophetic; 17c