Pudding Seminar: Hannah Kahn, ‘Biblical Exegesis and the Legitimation of Power in Bishop Fisher’s Funeral Sermon for Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby’

Upon the death of Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother to King Henry VII, the humanist theologian John Fisher preached a sermon in her honour. In this sermon, he compares her to St Martha of Bethany. This paper assesses Fisher’s exegesis of St Martha and how he uses this to eulogise Beaufort. I argue that Fisher uses exegesis to show that Beaufort’s religious life was exemplary and worthy of emulation. By turning Beaufort’s life into a model for other nobles to follow, Fisher normalises and legitimises the extraordinary power that Beaufort held in her son’s regime.

Hannah Kahn (she/her) is a current student at Newnham College, Cambridge, pursuing an MPhil in Medieval History. Previously, she studied at the University of British Columbia in Western Canada. Her research focuses on late medieval and early modern England, specifically visual and material culture, women, government, and politics. She has previously worked for the Ontario Museum Association. She is from Toronto.

All staff, students, senior members and alumnae are warmly invited to attend the pudding seminars, which are taking place online. For details of the link, please email enquiries@newn.cam.ac.uk.