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L'Eloquence de la chaire

Abstract : This book presents a vast panorama of Christian preaching from this religion’s origins to the present day. As far as I know, it is the first attempt, in French at least, to embrace the whole history of this genre while organizing the study in cross-cutting questions combining rhetoric, history and theology. The book comprises a vast introduction (ca. 70 pages) tracing the history of this genre as well as its rhetorical, religious and sociopolitical challenges; and an anthology of annotated texts (some of them, still unpublished in French, have been translated by me). The work presents the theological reflection which develops, throughout the centuries, about preaching: the evolution of its definition, its mediatory function and its intertextual aspect; its problematic link with the notion of sacrament; the preacher’s rights and duties. It also looks at its many rhetorical forms over the course of Christian history (conference, prône, homily, sermon, etc.). It reveals the ambivalent relationship between the oral and the written discourse and between individual and collective authorship. It analyzes the role of pathos and imagination, and more broadly the types of arguments, the rhetorical – and even “audiovisual” – tools implemented. It also specifies the historical conditions in which preaching is organized and performed (the audience role and attitude, the relationship between preaching and money, between preaching and drama, between preaching and audiovisual medias). It focuses on some particular forms or moments of the genre: preaching in the first centuries, medieval preaching (including in Rhenish mystic), ceremonial preaching in the Early modern period, interior and exterior missions, “circuit riding preachers” – and on some great figures, such as John Donne, Jean Calvin, Antonio Vieira, Henri-Dominique Lacordaire, Martin Luther King, or Desmond Tutu. Through its dual approach, both synthetic and analytic, this book leads us to question anew the often claimed dichotomy between popular preaching and elite preaching – and, ultimately, the breaks and continuities which mark the history of this little-known genre.
Keywords : preaching
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Contributor : Anne Regent-Susini <>
Submitted on : Saturday, February 4, 2017 - 11:08:37 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 31, 2019 - 2:52:04 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-01456395, version 1



Anne Régent-Susini. L'Eloquence de la chaire. Seuil, 2009. ⟨hal-01456395⟩



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