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On 28 March 1417 a particularly harsh reform sermon with the scriptural pericope Accipiant qui vocati sunt (Heb. 9.15) as its theme was delivered at the Council of Constance. Until recently this sermon has been misascribed to Vitale Valentine, OFM, Bishop of Toulon, and the only edition of the text was an incomplete and generally unreliable version published by Herman von der Hardt in 1717. In the introduction to a new critical edition of this sermon I presented the overwhelming evidence that Hardt incorrectly inferred the preacher’s identity and that it was actually delivered by Richard Fleming, an Oxford theologian who preached at Constance on several other occasions in 1417, and who later became Bishop of Lincoln (1420-31) and founder of Lincoln College, Oxford (1427). The present article examines this sermon in terms of the rhetorical strategies employed by Fleming and discussed how this approach relates to the political context in which it was delivered. But before analyzing this text several relevant issues are considered, including an episode from Fleming’s past and his Epiphany sermon for 1417, in order to better understand his polemical approach in his Passion Sunday sermon.


This article was originally published in Annuarium Historiae Conciliorum, 33(2): 405-425. © 2001 Ferdinand Schöningh. Reproduced with permission.