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The Hebrew Scriptures & Christian Preaching: The Writings
Since ancient times, the Hebrew Scriptures have constituted a vitally important set of theological resources for Christian homiletics. The ministry and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and the New Testament traditions that grew up around him cannot be understood apart from the narratives, legal material, poetry, sapiential traditions, and theological ideation of the Hebrew Scriptures. The exquisite artfulness of ancient Hebrew narrative can engage the Christian imagination on many levels. A preacher might draw congregations into the characterization of Daniel, Ruth, Esther, or Nehemiah, or explore the dramatic conflicts and resolutions emplotted in those books. The formation of believers in wisdom is a central concern of Ecclesiastes and Proverbs, which trace knowledge of the Lord and its antitheses in ways that fascinate many in today’s Church. Job and Lamentations wrestle with issues of suffering and justice in compelling poetry that can be explored powerfully from the pulpit. Through centuries of Christian tradition, the Psalms have been central to spiritual teaching, devotional practices, liturgical forms, and artistic refractions of lament, trust, and praise. This course will invite students into critical reflection on the Writings as a rich resource for Christian proclamation. Students will engage contemporary homiletical theory, study sermons from expert preachers, and explore their own homiletical approach by designing and preaching two sermons on texts from the Writings. Throughout the course, we will consider how to make the Gospel known through preaching practices that honor the enduring witness of the Hebrew Scriptures while claiming the truth of God in Christ.
REL 812 is a prerequisite. If you have taken another Master’s-level introductory preaching course and wish to substitute that for the prerequisite, please email me the syllabus prior to the first class meeting.
One semester of REL 500 is a prerequisite. You may argue for equivalent background from prior studies, with equivalence understood as one Master’s-level course or two undergraduate courses on the Hebrew Scriptures. If you have not taken REL 500, be prepared to show me the syllabus/syllabi from the courses taken elsewhere.
* * * Attendance at the first class session is required. * * *
Two sermons, to be preached in class
Paper (8 to 10 pages)
Regular class participation, including conscientious preparation of all required materials
First sermon (15% of course grade)
Second sermon (20% of course grade)
Paper (45% of course grade)
Participation (20% of course grade)