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An edition and study of selected sermons of Robert Grosseteste – Volumes 1 & 2

An edition and study of selected sermons of Robert Grosseteste – Volumes 1 & 2
Suzanne Paul


Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UNITED KINGDOM.


My thesis offers an edition and study of a collection of sermons attributed to the theologian and bishop Robert Grosseteste (c. 1168-1253), preserved in a single manuscript, Durham Dean and Chapter Library MS A. III. 12.

The starting point for my study is MS A. III. 12 itself. The first chapter summarises and evaluates the physical evidence of the codex and what can be determined of its history and provenance. Chapter II considers the material on fols 78-87 and 104-127 as a collection. Noting that many of the texts are not in fact sermons but short theological notes or sets of biblical or patristic sententiae, I analyse the material according to its form and function and demonstrate its utility for preaching. I also explore the relationship between this particular collection and Grosseteste's Psalms commentary and Dicta collection since the three works have a number of texts in common. I highlight two sermons in particular which appear to be in reportatio form and compare them with more developed versions of the same material found in Grosseteste's Dicta collection; the differences between the reportationes and the Dicta offer an insight into Grosseteste as preacher and Grosseteste as teacher, adapting his material for a wider audience. Chapter III focuses specifically on the twenty-four sermons in the collection, analysing their structure and content. I consider the way in which the various elements of the thematic sermon and particular types of argumentation are deployed, before surveying their pastoral message and their approach towards their audience(s). The final chapter considers the authorship of the collection by reading the texts in the light of what is known of Grosseteste's theological and homiletical method. Many of the texts are securely attributed to him because of their presence in his authoritative Dicta collection and this study concludes that these particular folios, and the manuscript as a whole, demonstrate a clear intention to compile a collection of authoritative and useful preaching material associated with Grosseteste. The study is accompanied by an edition of the twenty-four sermons from this collection.