of November i755 induced a variety of theological readings from the pulpit. There were sermons for every rite of passage, including baptism, confession, and marriage. Death and entry into a convent offered yet other occasions. There were sermons, provoked by the ups and downs of daily parish life and the information in press reports, on drinking, dancing, luxury, frivolity, and a host of other bad habits. Sermons recording or celebrating important political or ecclesiastical events (the birth of a prince or the opening of a synod) now and again developed into voluminous histories, chronologies, and genealogies. Bibliographers are sometimes hard put to distinguish between this kind of sermon and a reference book.
Following the recommendations of Trent, most Catholic homiletic guidelines suggested that fifteen to thirty minutes for a sermon preached (in the vernacular) during Sunday Mass was quite satisfactory. Extraordinary sermons, as distinct urban events taking place independently of the celebration of the Eucharist, were substantially longer. In any case, homiletic rules were regularly trespassed upon, especially in Protestant pulpits where sermons of up to two hours were hardly uncommon. For Catholics the sermon was not usually the main event during public worship, a view shared by some Protestants, if for different reasons. The Moravian leader Nikolaus Ludwig, Graf von Zinzendorf (1700-60), rated the efficacy of liturgy at least as high as that of sermons. He believed that to sing of salvation and to read the Bible was no less pertinent to gatherings of the faithful - which did not prevent this gifted, imaginative if somewhat disorderly spiritual leader from delivering a great many extemporaneous Reden and Ansprachen (talks and addresses). They were copied earnestly by listeners in Berlin, London, the Dutch Republic, and Pennsylvania, and subsequently published.
Between 1660 and 1800 published sermons appeared in enormous numbers. Such publications are not necessarily representative of what preachers actually offered their audiences and they tend to reflect an urban rather than a rural setting. Sermons intended for the press were generally expanded and polished after delivery. The Pietist August Hermann Francke (i663-i727) was one exception. Students wrote down his sermons and Francke habitually committed them to the printing press after a usually cursory examination. Occasional sermons were among the most commonly printed. They were delivered from the pulpit only several times a year, so that we know less than we should like about the regular run-of-the-mill Sunday sermon. For publishers, sermons were an interesting investment, a commodity saleable to an anonymous public. The commercial context, however, was usually more complicated than the simple laws of supply and demand might indicate. Especially Catholic festive sermons
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