John of Bromyard

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English Dominican preacher; from the name Bromyard it is conjectured that he was born in Herefordshire, England; d. 1352 (?). Probably a student at Oxford, he was licensed to hear confessions in the Hereford diocese from 1326 to 1352. He prepared his Opus trivium, or Distinctiones Bromyard, a compilation from the divine, canonical, and civil laws, as a handbook for preachers. A revised and augmented version of this work, entitled Summa praedicantium, was a voluminous source of moral and anecdotal sermon materials arranged in alphabetical form. The Summa was highly esteemed during the later Middle Ages. It was multiplied in manuscripts and went through many printed editions (the first, at Basel, 1474), and served for years as a manual for preachers. The prologue to the Summa indicates its relationship to the Opus trivium. Bromyard further prepared notes for sermons, entitled also Distinctiones. The Summa was formerly ascribed to another John Bromyard (d. after 1397), who was at one time chancellor of Cambridge, prior of the Dominican priory of Hereford, and member of the 1382 London Black Friars council, which condemned the errors of John wyclif. From internal textual evidence, contemporary allusions in the Summa, and a sermon of Bp. John de shepey of rochester preached in 1354, it is now clear that the later Bromyard was not the author.

Bibliography: a. b. emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500, 3 v. (Oxford 195759) 1:278. g. r. owst, Preaching in Medieval England (Cambridge, Eng.1926) ; Literature and Pulpit in Medieval England (2d ed. New York 1961) 224, 595.

[a. dabash]