Theologies of Preaching
Toronto School of Theology, Knox College
Fall Term
Class Sessions: Tuesdays, 1:00 PM ‑ 3:00 PM


Prof. David Schnasa Jacobsen
Phone: 519-884‑1970 ext. 3493
Office Hours: By appointment in Waterloo, or Tuesdays in Toronto.


Learning Goals:
This seminar course is designed to help students become familiar with attempts to understand what preaching is theologically and equip them to engage the theological task constructively as homileticians in their own right.  As such the learning goals are as follows:

1.  To understand how theological discussion around preaching developed from Early Christianity through the Medieval period.

2.  To appreciate the traditions and trajectories for theologies of preaching that emerged out of the Reformation and influence Protestant and Catholic thought today.

3.  To be able to identify how twentieth-century theological developments like Neo-Orthodoxy and the New Hermeneutic have shaped theologies of preaching in our day.

4.  To be able to locate conversations in contemporary homiletics in light of those traditions, trajectories, and developments, and

5.  To begin to envision how contemporary revisionist theologies might further enliven constructive theological work in this area.


Required Texts:
Cooke, B. Ministry to Word and Sacrament.  Philadelphia: Fortress, 1976. (available as reprint for $10 US)

Hilkert, M.C., Naming Grace.  New York:  Continuum, 1997.


Required Reserve Reading--Both the above required texts plus the following:

Achtemeier, P.  An Introduction to the New Hermeneutic.  Philadelphia: Westminster, 1969.

Barth, K.  The Word of God and the Word of Man.  New York: Harper & Row, 1957.

Bromiley, G., ed.  Zwingli and Bullinger.  Philadelphia: Westminster, 1953.

Chrysostom, J.  On the Priesthood. 

National Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Fulfilled in Your Hearing.  Washington: USCC, 1982.

         [This book is not on reserve at Knox, but is available on reserve at St. Mike’s Kelly Library]

Parker, T. H. L.  The Oracles of God.  Lutterworth Press, 1947.

Watson, P.  Let God Be God.  Philadelphia: Fortress, 1947.




Session 1, 9/9
First Hour:              Introductions & Discussion of Syllabus

Second Hour:          What are some common elements in theologies of preaching?

                               Planning Assignments and Schedules

Read Cooke, Chapters 8-10 for next week.


Session 2, 16/9

First Hour:              Ministry of the Word in the New Testament.  Discussion Leader____________

Second Hour:          The Word in the Ante-Nicene Church.  Discussion Leader_____________

                               The Word in the Patristic Period.  Discussion Leader____________ 

Read Cooke, Chapters 11-13 for next week.


Session 3, 23/9

First Hour:              The Word in the Middle Ages.  Discussion Leader____________

Second Hour:          The Word in the Reformation Period.  Discussion Leader_____________

                               The Word in the Modern Church.  Discussion Leader____________

Read Watson, Let God Be God, Chapter V for next week


Session 4, 30/9       The Lutheran Tradition

First Hour:   Luther Discussion based on Watson’s book

Second Hour          Presentation on Bultmann, Jesus Christ and Mythology                            

                               Presentation from Lutheran Bibliography                                                   

Read Parker, The Oracles of God, Chapter(s) __ for next week


Session 5, 7/10       The Reformed Tradition

First Hour:  Calvin Discussion based on Parker’s book

Second Hour:          Presentation on Hyperius, The Practise of Preaching                               

                               [a modern translation of this work is available on reserve at Caven library]

Presentation from Reformed Bibliography                                                 

Read Zwingli, “Of the Clarity and Certainty of the Word of God”, pp. 49-95, for next week


Session 6, 14/10     The Reformed Tradition and Beyond

First Hour:              Zwingli Discussion

Second Hour:          Presentation from Other Protestant Bibliography                                      

                               Presentation from Other Protestant Bibliography                                      

Read Fulfilled in Your Hearing and selected chapters of On the Priesthood for next session


Session 7, 28/10     The Catholic Tradition

First Hour:              Fulfilled in Your Hearing discussion

Second Hour:          Presentation from Catholic Bibliography                                         

                               Presentation from Catholic Bibliography                                         

                               The Orthodox Tradition

Third Hour:             Chrysostom Discussion and Presentation from Orthodox Bibliography                                            

Read Barth, The Word of God and the Word of Man for next week


Session 8, 4/11       Neo-Orthodoxy and Today’s Homiletical Theology

First Hour:              Discuss Barth

Second Hour:          Presentation on Campbell, Willimon, Forde, Wilson, Long, or Lischer



Session 9, 11/11     Presentations on Campbell, Willimon, Forde, Wilson, Long, Lischer, cont.

First Hour:                                                                                                                           

Second Hour:                                                                                                                       

Read Achtemeier, An Introduction to the New Hermeneutic for Session 11


Session 10, 18/11   The New Hermeneutic and Today’s Homiletical Theology (extended session)

First Hour:              Discuss Achtemeier

Second Hour:          Presentations on Ebeling, Craddock, Buttrick or Mitchell


Third Hour:                                                                                                                   

Read Hilkert, Naming Grace for Session 13


Session 11, 25/11   No Class–Academic Meeting


Session 12, 2/12     Revisionist and Liberation Theologies of Preaching

First Hour:              Discuss Hilkert

Second Hour:          Presentation on Chopp, Pittenger, González, or Turner & Hudson






1.   Discussion Leader (Sessions 2 and 3)
Come to class ready to make a brief 10 minute summary of the chapter assigned in Cooke’s Ministry to Word in Sacrament and prepare questions to help us discuss its significance.
Due Date: Session 2 or 3--5% of grade


2.   Presentations on Various Figures’ Theologies of Preaching
Offer a half-hour summary of the figure you read (see bibliographies below for ideas); identify how they fit or don’t fit some of the traditions, trajectories, and developments in the theologies of preaching that we’ve read; and field questions from the class.
Due Date: Sessions 4-13

Percentage of Grade: 60% of grade (averaged from all your presentations)


3.   Final Paper
Develop your own constructive theology of preaching including such theological loci as revelation, Christology, soteriology, ecclesiology, sacraments, etc., as appropriate to your position.  Try as you go to relate your developing theology of preaching to ones we covered in class.
Due Date: _____________

Percentage of Grade: 30% each


4.   Attendance and Group Participation
In order to learn theologies of preaching together regular attendance is expected.  More importantly, however, we will attempt to learn how to think theologically as part of a community.  By struggling together with our discussions, presentations, and papers we will also grow together in ways that we can hardly imagine.  This aspect of our time together will necessarily require the voicing of perspectives that some of us often ignore.  Yet this is the greatest blessing preachers can receive.  After all, the Gospel may not come to us who are called to preach, unless it comes first through the voice of Another.  How did Paul put it?:  faith comes by hearing.
Due Date:  Every Class--Percentage of Grade: 5%




Bibliography for Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox Theologies of Preaching



Protestant Theologies of Preaching




Ebeling, G.  God and Word.  Philadelphia: Fortress, 1965.

------ Theology and Proclamation.  Philadelphia: Fortress, 1966.

------ Word and Faith.  Philadelphia: Fortress, 1963.

Fant, C. Bonhoeffer: Worldly Preaching. Nashville:  Nelson, 1975.

Hall, T.  The Future Shape of Preaching.  Philadelphia: Fortress, 1971.

Lischer, R., A Theology of Preaching. Nashville:  Abingdon, 1981.

Schwarz, H. Divine Communication. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1985.

Sittler, J. The Ecology of Faith.  Philadelphia:  Muhlenberg, 1961.

-------      The Anguish of Preaching.  Fortress, 1966.

Stuempfle, H.  Preaching Law and Gospel.  Philadelphia: Fortress, 1978.

Wingren, G. The Living Word. Philadelphia:  Muhlenberg, 1960.




Allmen, J-J., Preaching and Congregation.  Richmond:  Knox, 1962.

Barth, K., The Preaching of the Gospel.  Philadelphia:  Westminster, 1963.

----- The Word of God and The Word of Man.  New York:  Harper, 1957.

Bartow, C., God's Human Speech.  Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 1997.

Bohren, R., Preaching and Community.  Richmond:  Knox, 1965.

Buttrick, D., A Captive Voice.  Louisville:  Westminster/Knox, 1994.

Campbell, C., Preaching Jesus.  Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 1997.

Clowney, E.,Preaching & Biblical Theology.  Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 1961.

Duane, J., The Freedom of God.  Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 1973. 

Duke, R., The Sermon as God's Word.  Nashville:  Abingdon, 1980.

Farmer, H. H.  The Servant of the Word.  New York: Scribners, 1942.

Forsythe, P. T.  Positive Preaching and the Modern Mind.  Armstrong, 1902.

Ford, D., The Ministry of the Word.  Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 1980.

Kraemer, H., The Communication of the Christian Faith.  Philadelphia:  Westminster, 1956.

Luthi, W. Preaching, Confession, Lord's Supper.  Richmond:  Knox, 1960.

Marcel, P. The Relevance of Preaching.  Grand Rapids:  Baker, 1977.

Miller, D. Fire in Thy Mouth.  Nashville:  Abingdon, 1954.

Ott, H. Theology and Preaching.  Philadelphia:  Westminster, 1965.

Philibert, M. Christ's Preaching and Ours.  Richmond:  Knox, 1963.

Pitt-Watson, I.  Preaching: A Kind of Folly.  Philadelphia:  Westminster, 1978.

Ritschl, D. A Theology of Proclamation.  Richmond:  Knox, 1960.


Other Protestant Traditions:


Beaudean, J. Paul's Theology of Preaching.  Macon, GA: Mercer, 1988. BAP

Browne, R. The Ministry of the Word.  Philadelphia:  Fortress, 1976. ANG

Casserly, J. Apologetics and Evangelism.  Philadelphia:  Westminster, 1962. ANG

Cho, Il Koo, Preaching as a Theological Act.  Claremont, 1995.

Chopp, R.  The Power to Speak.  New York: Crossroad, 1991. UMC

English, D., An Evangelical Theology of Preaching.  Nashville:  Abingdon, 1996.

González J. and C. González.  Liberation Preaching.  Nashville: Abingdon, 1980.  UMC

Greiser, David B. and Michael King.  Anabaptist Preaching.  Scottsdale, PA:  Herald, 2003.  MENN

Jones, J. The Holy Spirit & Christian Preaching.  Epworth, 1967.

Knox, J. The Integrity of Preaching.  Nashville:  Abingdon, 1957. ANG

Mitchell, H.  The Recovery of Preaching.  New York: Harper, 1977. BAP

Moyd, O. The Sacred Art.  Valley Forge:  Judson, 1995. BAP

Niles, D.T. The Preacher's Task and the Stone of Stumbling.  New York:  Harper, 1958.

Pittenger, W. Proclaiming Christ Today.  Seabury, 1962. ANG

---------          Preaching the Gospel.  Morehouse-Barlow, 1984. ANG

Rust, E. The Word and the Words.  Macon, GA: Mercer, 1982. 

Sellers,J. The Outsider and the Word of God.  Nashville:  Abingdon, 1961. UMC

Sleeth, R.  Proclaiming the Word.  Nashville: Abingdon, 1964.  UMC

Taylor, G.  How Shall They Preach?  Progressive Baptist, 1977. BAP

Turner M. and M. Hudson.  Saved from Silence.  St. Louis: Chalice, 1999.  DIS

Willimon, W.  Peculiar Speech.  Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992. UMC



Catholic Theologies of Preaching


--------, The Word: Readings in Theology.  New York:  Kenedy, 1964.

Burke, J., Gospel Power.  Staten Island, NY:  Alba, 1978

         , A New Look at Preaching.  Glazier, 1983.

Church, A., The Theology of the Word of God.  Notre Dame:  Fides, 1970.

Danielou, J., Christ and Us.  New York:  Sheed & Ward, 1962.

Fichter, J., To Stand and Speak for Christ.  Staten Island, NY:  Alba, 1981.

Grasso, D., Proclaiming God's Message.  South Bend:  Notre Dame, 1965.

Henry, A.M., A Mission Theology.  Fides, 1962.

Hitz, P., To Preach the Gospel.  New York:  Sheed & Ward, 1963.

Jungmann, J.A., The Good News, Yesterday & Today.  New York:  Sadlier, 1962.

Kahmann,J., The Bible on the Preaching of the Word.  Norbert,1965.

Miller, C., Ordained to Preach.  Staten Island, NY:  Alba, 1992.

NCCB, Fulfilled in Your Hearing.  Washington, DC: USCC, 1982.

Rahner, H., A Theology of Proclamation.  New York:  Herder, 1968.

Rahner, K., ed., The Renewal of Preaching.  New York:  Paulist, 1968.

Rahner, K. Theological Investigations (Vol IV, Chapter 10).  New York:  Paulist, 1968.

Rock, A., Unless They Be Sent.  Brown, 1953.

Schmaus, M., Preaching as a Saving Encounter. Staten Island, NY:  Alba, 1966.

Schmeiser, J., ed., Celebrating the Word.  Anglican Ctr., 1977.

Semmelroth, O., The Preaching Word.  New York:  Herder, 1965.


Orthodox Theologies of Preaching


Chrysostom.  On the Priesthood.  Trans. Patrick Boyle; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1955.

Breck, John.  The Power of the Word in the Worshipping Church.  Crestwood, NY:  St. Vladimir’s, 1986.

Schmemann, A..  “The Sacrament of the Word,” in The Eucharist.  Trans. P. Kachur; Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1988.