Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Religion & Culture / Religious Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Peter Erb

Advisor Role

Thesis Committee Member

Second Advisor

Harold Remus

Advisor Role

Thesis Committee Member

Third Advisor

Michel Desjardins

Advisor Role

Thesis Committee Member


Among the many pastoral aids compiled for parish priests in the late Middle Ages, Fasciculus morum: A Fourteenth-Century Preacher's Handbook, is among the more important but is surprisingly little studied. In this thesis I focus direct attention on its use of the preaching exemplum. Although it is not an exempla collection per se, a study of the exempla in the work offers many insights into other such collections. This thesis examines these exempla--the types of characters found in them, their sources, and their function within the context of Fasciculus morum proper. As the literary review which opens Chapter 1 indicates, studies of the work are limited and the first chapters thus set the work in its historical context, introducing problems of authorship, date, and genre. Chapter 2 demonstrates how the author's likely Franciscan origin affected the book's distribution and content and how the development of sermons in the period before Fasciculus morum was written affected the manual. Chapter 3 looks directly at the exempla of Fasciculus morum, developing a working definition of the term, and problems in exempla studies. Earlier scholars have stressed the need to discuss exempla in context. Commentaries on exempla collections are precluded from doing this because the exempla are provided as material for preachers, but the preachers provide the context which defines the way the exempla function. Editors of major exempla collections have tended to discuss such topics as the characters, situations, sources, and other occurences of the exempla. I have included sections covering both of these approaches to exempla, first commenting on the number, distribution, length, and language of the exempla, and their characters and sources, including the large number of classical exempla, and then looking at the purpose and function of the exempla, the way they relate to the material found before and after them in the chapters of Fasciculus morum. The appendices include a full catalogue of all exempla in the work with sources and other indexes to Fasciculus morum

Convocation Year


Convocation Season