Monday 30 October 2023

Call for papers: Preachers, Hearers, Readers, and Scribes: New Approaches to Early Modern Sermons in Manuscript

The collaborators on GEMMS: Gateway to Early Modern Manuscript Sermons invite proposals for papers on sermons in manuscript from 1530 to 1715 for a conference to be held 3-5 October 2024 at Harvard Divinity School and the Congregational Library, Cambridge and Boston, MA. Featured keynote speakers are Dr. Frank Bremer (Millersville University), Dr. David Hall (Harvard University), and Professor Ann Hughes (Keele University).

We are particularly interested in presentations that make use of the GEMMS database ( or the types of manuscripts included in GEMMS, which focuses on sermons, sermon notes, and reports of sermons and preaching.

We would welcome proposals on a wide range of topics, including (but not limited to):
  • comparisons of preaching practices across the Atlantic world
  • the contents or contexts of individual sermons, sets of sermon notes, or sermon collections
  • sermons related to particular Biblical passages
  • particular genres of, or occasions for, sermons
  • sermons preached at particular venues or in specific regions
  • the responses of auditors and/or readers of sermons, or note-taking practices
  • women’s relationships with sermons and preaching
  • comparative perspectives on sermon manuscripts in other languages or religious traditions
  • preaching patterns and methods
  • compilers, collectors, or owners of sermon manuscripts
  • related manuscript materials, such as liturgical, doctrinal and devotional manuscripts
  • perspectives of librarians or archivists on manuscript sermon collections
  • use of digital tools and methods to study sermon manuscripts or related data
  • related early modern digital resources

Proposals should indicate a preference for longer papers of 20 minutes or shorter papers of 10 minutes. Please include a title and an abstract of 250-300 words. We are also happy to consider other kinds of presentations, such as demonstrations, workshops and roundtable discussions. Select publications will be included in a special issue of Renaissance and Reformation / Renaissance et Réforme.

Send proposals to Jennifer Farooq,, no later than 1 January 2024.