Lutheran preaching in the early age of Orthodoxy was extremely diverse. Although German universities like Helmstedt and Wittenberg prepared pastors for the pulpit in similar ways using standard homiletic and biblical materials rooted in the teachings of Luther, Melanchthon, and other influential Lutheran theologians, the specific circumstances of individual parishes, towns, and courts-not to mention the unique interests, talents, and dispositions of the Lutheran clergymen themselves-created a variety of approaches to preaching, and the rich assortment of surviving sermons and related materials shows the vitality of this genre even as it defies easy categorization. The formal study of popular preaching in the late Reformation and Lutheran Orthodoxy is in its infancy and has not been approached comprehensively, although valuable treatments are now available.1 From the point of view of social historians and historical

theologians, preaching in this time of transition and experimentation is a topic of significant interest because it allows the scholar to investigate how the theologies and agendas of Lutheran pastors, professors, and superintendents interacted in substantive ways with everyday people in villages, towns, and cities. As Robert Scribner has famously noted, religious reform was first and foremost a powerful preaching revival, and the sermon holds pride of place as the major formal means of communication between pastors and the people.2