Preaching in Eighteenth-Century London

November 2013
21 line illustrations
360 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Studies in Modern British Religious History
ISBN: 9781843838715
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BISAC HIS015000, HIS037050, REL033000

Preaching in Eighteenth-Century London

Jennifer Farooq

A comprehensive overview of preaching culture in eighteenth-century England.
This book looks at the role of preaching culture in eighteenth-century England. Beyond the confines of churches, preaching was heard at political anniversaries and elections, thanksgiving and fast days, and society and charity meetings, all of which were major occasions on the English political and social calendars. Dozens of sermons were published each year, and the popularity of sermons, both from the pulpit and in print, make them crucial for understanding the role of religion in eighteenth-century society.
To provide a broad perspective on preaching culture, this book focuses on print and manuscript evidence for preaching in London. London had a unique combination of preaching venues and audiences, including St. Paul's cathedral, parliament, the royal court, the corporation of London, London-based societies, and numerous parish churches and Dissenting meetinghouses. The capital had the greatest range of preaching anywhere in England. However, many of the developments in London reflected trends in preaching culture across the country. This was a period when English society experienced significant social, religious and political changes, and preachers' roles evolved in response to these changes. Early in the century, preachers were heavily engaged in partisan politics. However, as these party heats waned, they increasingly became involved with societies and charities that were part of the blossoming English urban culture.
The book also explores the impact of sermons on society by looking at contemporary perceptions of preaching, trends in the publication of sermons, the process of the publication and the distribution of sermons, and the reception of sermons. It demonstrates how preachers of various denominations adapted to an increasingly literate and print-centred culture and the continuing vitality of oral preaching culture. The book will be of interest not only to scholars of religion and sermon literature, but also to those interested in eighteenth-century politics, urban society, oral and print cultures, and publishing.

JENNIFER FAROOQ is an independent scholar.

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Table of Contents

The London preaching scene, 1700-1760
Survey of London printed sermons
The publication of sermons
The reception of sermons
A shared culture of preaching: Sermons and London religious culture
Preachers as promoters, publicists and critics: Sermons and London civic culture
Preaching politics: Sermons and London political culture
Appendix: Printed Sermons


[T]o read Jennifer Farooq's fascinating study of preaching in London in the early 1700s is to enter a world alien to us today in many ways, yet at the same time one where echoes can be found of the divisive nature of public communication . a rich resource for all who are interested in sermon studies and the religious culture of the 1700s. H-PIETISM (H-NET REVIEWS)

An informative addition to the growing body of works on the sermon culture of the eighteenth century. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW

[P]rovides a treasure trove of useful discussion for any historian of eighteenth-century England, especially those interested in book history and in the social and political interventions of religious bodies. AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW

[W]hile differences in preaching style and theology certainly abound in Farooq's book, what is truly remarkable is the congruencies she discovers among sermons written by ministers of different creeds. . . . This book will be especially useful to those interested in the connection between homiletics and publication and in the larger history of the book. ANGLICAN AND EPISCOPAL HISTORY

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