Richard Bernard and His Publics: A Puritan Minister as Author
Tan, Amy Gant
Drawing upon approaches from history, literature, and religious studies, this dissertation enhances our understanding of the confluence of religion, print, politics, and society during a key transitional period in European history. In particular, it uses the case study of "author-minister" Richard Bernard to examine the relationship between print authorship and parish ministry in early seventeenth century England. Although it is well known that many early modern ministers became authors through the publication of sermons, few scholars have considered the more active role that some ministers took in producing works specifically designed for a print medium. Because preaching, teaching and other professional activities could easily fill the entirety of a minister’s time, it is important to consider the reasons these author-ministers chose to pursue publication and the goals that they had for their works. The dissertation demonstrates that authorship could become an integral part of the clerical vocation as author-ministers intentionally targeted different audiences through a variety of genres in order to further England’s reformation and religious unification within their own parishes and beyond. The dissertation is centered upon the career of Bernard, whose life and work are ideally positioned to highlight many aspects of early Stuart parish and print ministry. In his works, the connection between pastoral ministry and print is particularly strong. For instance, one can often pinpoint specific events that influenced not only the timing but also the content of publications. In addition, Bernard was particularly explicit, both in his private correspondence and in print, about his goals as an author, his imagined audience, and his purposes for seeking publication. By placing his print works alongside records from his ministry, it is possible to reconstruct ways that Bernard’s pastoral vocation and authorial work mutually influenced one another, as well as how he conceived of these dual roles.