© 1994, 1997 Ian Lancashire. ISBN 1-896016-00-6

The Renaissance Electronic Texts series consists of old-spelling electronic texts of single manuscript or printed copies of early English works, encoded in Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML).

While both paper and electronic editions may be read, only the second can be transformed into other forms easily, such as concordances, collations, and specialized kinds of edition. If accompanied by digitized images of its source, electronic editions take on an archival role, preserving something of the original. Collections of images, in themselves, however, are not scholarship. The decisions that must be made in generating an image base need but little understanding of books, language, or literature, or of how knowledge may be increased by an computer analysis of them. The electronic edition is the basis of future work on primary texts. Drawing on palaeography and bibliography, it supplies historical scholarship with the basis for an understanding of the texts with which it deals.

The first volume in the Renaissance Electronic Texts series is Certaine Sermons or Homilies appointed to be read in Churches, In the time of the late Queene Elizabeth of famous memory, published in 1623 in two volumes dating originally from 1547 and 1563, respectively and reprinted many times during the Renaissance. James I authorized this reprinting, as his son Charles would later. Embodying much of the theological and moral doctrine of the state religion of the age of Shakespeare, the 33 homilies do much to explain the intellectual assumptions of writers like Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton. This will become very clear if one of their texts -- or the work of almost anyone else in the English Renaissance -- is concorded with this electronic text.

Claire Smith at the Centre for Computing in the Humanities did the initial data entry. I then proofed, corrected and encoded the text for publication and am responsible for any errors in it. Encoding guidelines reflect many of the recommendations of the Text Encoding Initiative, but the only TEI-conformant part of this edition is the header itself.

The revised second version (October 1997) benefits from Ronald Bond's generous review of the first version. I have accordingly emended typographical errors, supplied a list of emendations, and modified my introduction to take account of his just criticisms. Raymond Siemens and several others suggested that RET editions be encoded in HTML for readability--sensible advice that reflects the wide acceptance of the World Wide Web by the academic community. Finally, for the same reason I have increased the use of ISO entity references (where possible), removed the book-line lineation numbers, and ensured that the text-line lineation is visible for Web browsers.

I. Lancashire
Toronto December 1994, October 1997