Samuel Hieron's "worldling": A funeral sermon, 1618 and the controversy over eulogies

Bettie Anne Doebler, Retha M. Warnicke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


After the Reformation, English clergymen debated the efficacy of funeral eulogies. Some believed they flattered the deceased and might be seen as prayers for the dead. Because the bereaved wanted to hear about the goodness of their beloved, most preachers gave eulogies, some in a generalized form for Godly imitation, not expressing the deceased's individuality. Samuel Hieron, a Puritan preacher, refused to give eulogies. In two that were printed, he used Biblical texts lauding the lives of Paul and Dorcas, making it possible for the grief-stricken to believe he was comparing the deceased to them. In the third, he used a text about a Worldling, angering the deceased's daughters, who believed he claimed their father had died a wicked man. Hieron prepared the sermon for publication to deny their charges but died before it appeared. His experience indicates parishioners expected to participate in decisions about how funeral services were conducted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-274
Number of pages14
JournalOmega: Journal of Death and Dying
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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