Religion Past and Present

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Postils (Books of Homilies)
(445 words)

[German Version]

The term postil derives from the liturgical formula post illa (sc. verba; “after those,” i.e. after the words just read); in the first instance, it means an exposition keyed to a biblical text section by section. In a broader sense, postil denotes preaching that expounds a text in homily form, then also a collection of homilies on the pericopes (II) assigned to the Sundays and festivals of a year and hence a literary genre.

Luther’s postils on the traditional pericopes served as model sermons, shaping the genre as practical religious literature with a t…

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Friedrichs, Lutz, “Postils (Books of Homilies)”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 05 April 2020 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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