SERMO: A Repertorium of Middle English Prose Sermons
The Repertorium of Middle English Prose Sermons is intended to
provide an authoritative and comprehensive record of all extant
Middle English prose sermons, including both edited and unedited
material. The project offers a clear guide to the contents of
sermon manuscripts and their intricate interrelationships.
It has also allowed the collation of information concerning
the contents of the sermons, providing summaries of individual
sermons, indicating sources and recording such details as the
exempla, biblical and patristic quotations and personal names
mentioned. The Repertorium also includes a full bibliography
relating to each text and collection.
By providing this data in a consistent and searchable form, the
Repertorium provides an overview of the whole corpus of Middle
English prose sermons which will aid future editorial and
analytical research and facilitate comparative work across the
genre and beyond. Close links with similar research projects across
Europe have made it possible to extend comparative study to other
vernaculars. The Repertorium acts as a foundation for further
investigations in the interdisciplinary field of sermon studies and
will assist scholars studying the literature, language, history and
theology of Medieval England in exploring sermons.
Medieval sermons are increasingly recognised as a valuable
resource for a wide range of historical, literary, linguistic and
theological studies. Preserved in thousands of manuscripts across
Europe, they both reflect and respond to changing and enduring
theological and cultural values. With such quantities of unedited
material, large-scale research tools are required to provide an
overview of the genre and facilitate further editorial and
analytical work. Research into Latin sermons of the later Middle
Ages has been greatly stimulated by the production of J. B.
Schneyer's Repertorium der lateinischen Sermones des
Mittelalters (Münster, 1969-1990) which identified over
100,000 individual copies of sermons. To complement this work and
to encourage the study of vernacular texts, the SERMO project was
developed by a group of international scholars with the aim of
producing repertoria of medieval vernacular sermons. Dr Veronica
O'Mara of the University of Hull was invited to design and
co-ordinate the Middle English section of the SERMO project.
Middle English Sermons
Research into Middle English sermons is more advanced than in
many other language areas; various listings of the material exist
and several major collections have been edited or are in the
process of being edited. The total number of manuscripts containing
Middle English sermons is also relatively small by comparison with
other vernaculars. However, the process of cataloguing and
describing of Middle English sermon manuscripts is complicated by
considerable amounts of textual reworking, mutual borrowing and
interdependence between individual compilations. The
Repertorium of Middle English Prose Sermons will make
these complex textual resources more widely available and suggest
new possibilities for research into Middle English sermons.
The aims of the Middle English SERMO project
1. To provide an authoritative and comprehensive record of all
extant Middle English prose sermons in a consistent and searchable
2. To offer quick access to the contents of Middle English
sermons to scholars from a range of disciplines.
3. To collate information concerning manuscripts containing
Middle English prose sermons.
4. To enable comparative research across the full range of
Middle English prose sermons.
5. To contribute to a broader comparative sermon studies project
across European vernaculars.
The Middle English SERMO project is funded by the AHRB for the period 2003-2007. It is
based in the Department of English at
the University of Hull.
The co-instigators of the Sermo Project are Dr Suzanne Paul and
Dr Veronica O'Mara.
If you wish to find out more about the Middle English SERMO
project, please contact: