Friars' Tales

Sermon Exempla from the British Isles

Translated by David Jones

Friars' Tales


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8425-6
  • Pages: 224
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £17.99
  • Published Date: March 2011
  • BIC Category: Medieval History, History, History & Archaeology, History, CE period up to c 1500, RELIGION / General, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain / Norman Conquest to Late Medieval (1066-1485), Humanities / Religion & beliefs, Humanities / Early history: c 500 to c 1450/1500
  • Series: Manchester Medieval Sources


Exempla are illustrative stories used by preachers to seize the attention of their congregations and to drive home a moral lesson. This book presents annotated translations from two collections of exempla, one Franciscan and one Dominican, put together in the British Isles around 1275.

The two collections used are amongst the earliest to survive from the British Isles. The 270 exempla translated cover a wide range of topics, both ecclesiastical and secular, and offer vivid insights into medieval life and attitudes in the broadest sense.

An introduction discusses the place of preaching in the medieval church, the development of preaching aids and the exemplum genre, the main topics covered by the exempla, the dating of the two collections translated and the use which the compilers made of their material, and how far exempla can be relied upon as historical evidence.


'David Jones, with an affordable, accessible, small volume, offers today's audience a chance to read what their ancestors may have heard eight centuries ago...Finally, an up-to-date bibliography allows scholars to learn still more about the wide range of themes and applications employed by those who incorporated sermons and stories into their own efforts to save souls.'
New York Journal of Books


Series editor's foreword
List of abbreviations
Medieval preaching and preaching aids
The Liber Exemplorum
The Cambridge Dominican Collection
Exempla: transmission and content
The Liber Exemplorum
Selected exempla from the Cambridge Dominican Collection
Select bibliography

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