Augustine's Theology of Preaching

Augustine's Theology of Preaching

Copyright Date: 2014
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  • Book Info
    Augustine's Theology of Preaching
    Book Description:

    Scholarship has painted many pictures of Augustine—the philosophical theologian, the refuter of heresy, or contributor to doctrines like Original Sin—but the picture of Augustine as preacher, says Sanlon, has been seriously neglected. When academics marginalize the Sermones ad Populum, the real Augustine is not presented accurately. In this study, Sanlon does more, however, than rehabilitate a neglected view of Augustine. How do the theological convictions that Augustine brought to his preaching challenge, sustain, or shape our work today? By presenting Augustine’s thought on preaching to contemporary readers Sanlon contributes a major new piece to the ongoing reconsideration of preaching in the modern day, a consideration that is relevant to all branches of the twenty-first century church.

    eISBN: 978-1-4514-8760-2
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. Summary
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  6. Preface
    (pp. xix-xxiv)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. xxv-xxxii)

    Preachers often ponder the state of preaching. The influence, methods and reception of mentors are weighed. When this is done, there is frequently fearfulness about the future of preaching. So Tim Keller spoke at the American memorial to John Stott, saying, “John Stott reinvented expository preaching. I’m still worried that younger evangelical leaders are increasingly thinking that they need to get beyond expository preaching.”¹

    Since preaching has been central to the Church from its inception, it is surprising that what revival of the expository ministry there has been in the modern church has been nurtured with a notable lack of...

  8. 1 The Historical Context of Augustine’s Preaching
    (pp. 1-22)

    The concerns of this book are primarily doctrinal, in that our intent is to expose the undergirding philosophical-theological assumptions which informed Augustine’s preaching. Nevertheless, doctrine is neither formulated nor promulgated in an historical vacuum. In order to give due recognition to the relevance of historical setting for doctrinal expression, this chapter offers a historical context for Augustine’s preaching.

    We shall proceed from a broad overview towards a narrower focus. Thus North African culture in general will be outlined first, followed by a consideration of the Church in that area. We will then study, with representative examples, North African preaching. All...

  9. 2 Pagan Oratory
    (pp. 23-50)

    Augustine holds a foundational place in the development of the Christian sermon. This is partly due to the fact that he began life as a professional teacher of rhetoric. His conversion led to him being changed from a professor of rhetoric into a Christian preacher. His unique experiences put him in the position of being able to offer self-conscious reflection upon the nature of preaching and its relationship to oration. The fruit of this is seen inDe Doctrina Christiana, which will be considered in a subsequent chapter.

    Augustine knew well that there was debate about the relationship between pagan...

  10. 3 Training Preachers: De Doctrina Christiana
    (pp. 51-70)

    This chapter is a study ofDe Doctrina. Our attempt to expose the undergirding doctrinal assumptions of Augustine’s preaching would be incomplete without a consideration of this extremely rich book.De Doctrinawas the first (and remains one of the most stimulating) Christian writings on the task of preaching. Having explored some of the background and context to Augustine’s preaching, we now consider his own explanations of the task of understanding and preaching Scripture.

    Though short,De Doctrinais a dense work. We cannot aim to do more than outline how our terms of investigation feature here, and suggest how...

  11. 4 Interiority, Temporality, and Scripture
    (pp. 71-98)

    Augustine’s preaching reveals a particular concern for both interiority and temporality, and that this is due to his using Scripture to change listeners. This chapter aims to offer preliminary definitions of interiority and temporality, our two hermeneutical keys. These terms are constructive theological developments of the concepts “passion” and “order,” which structured the opening chapter. Our hope is that the definitions capture the essence of the assumptions Augustine brought to his preaching, and that they can then operate as tools to help us better explicate what he believed himself to be doing as a preacher. Such a methodology was commended...

  12. 5 Case Study: Riches and Money
    (pp. 99-120)

    Our three case study chapters aim to explore inductively themes which were of particular importance in Augustine’s preaching. It is hoped that these studies deepen the conclusions drawn in our book, and provide the reader with something of the experience of reading through Augustine’sSermones. This chapter shows that riches and money hold a position of particular importance in Augustine’s sermons. The use he makes of financial riches arises from his appreciation of interiority and temporality. After an inductive presentation of the ways in which Augustine handles the topic of finances throughout hisSermones, the act of almsgiving and two...

  13. 6 Case Study: Death and Resurrection
    (pp. 121-146)

    Augustine’s preaching does not merely make frequent reference to death and resurrection: it is saturated with a thorough-going emphasis upon the end of mortal life. A case study upon this theme of death and resurrection permits us to examine how Augustine appealed to interiority and temporality when applying Scripture to this important concern. It is our intention in this chapter to expose the methods Augustine used in a way which demonstrates empathy for his approach. Just as we have selected the topic of death and resurrection because it is so prevalent in his preaching, so the aspects of that preaching...

  14. 7 Case Study: Relationships
    (pp. 147-170)

    The people listening to Augustine preach were varied in age, gender, and status; Augustine mentions in a letter that both sexes listen to the Scripture reading in church together.² Part of the value of theSermones, then, is their ability to portray something of what Augustine thought about ordinary human relationships. Especially since he died before editing them, theSermonesoffer a vivid portrait of one of the great theologians preaching in a way which he hoped would enable ordinary listeners to make sense of their lives in light of God’s revelation.

    This chapter aims to explore some of the...

  15. 8 Conclusion
    (pp. 171-178)

    We began our book by exploring the historical context of Augustine’s preaching. Chapter 1 showed that we recognize that, although our study is a doctrinal investigation, doctrine is not formulated in isolation from cultural and historical realities. Following on from that background we considered the challenges faced by pagan oratory in Chapter 2. This presented the issues Augustine was sensitized to through his career as a secular speaker.

    The above chapters laid the foundation for exploring how Augustine articulated his approach to interpreting Scripture and preaching inDe Doctrina. In Chapter 3, we considered the role of interiority, temporality, and...

  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 179-208)
  17. Index
    (pp. 209-211)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 212-212)