The preacher as artist : metaphor, identity, and the vicarious humanity of Christ
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This thesis explores how metaphors of identity shape the practice of preaching and can encourage or limit attempts to witness to Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. It asks the question: Is there an identity that will encourage a faithful homiletic practice by embracing the full range of human capacities and gifts without asking the preacher to rely on him- or herself? It suggests that the homiletic identity of THE PREACHER AS ARTIST can lead preachers to understand their task in relation to the life and ongoing ministry of Jesus Christ and so give space to divine and human action in the event of preaching the word of God. The argument begins with an account of the present cultural moment and the suggestion that preachers should consider an identity that takes the imagination seriously in light of shifting cultural assumptions and expectations. It then describes the significance of metaphor for identity before looking at two established homiletic identities, THE PREACHER AS TEACHER and THE PREACHER AS HERALD. Accounts of these two identities highlight the tension between divine and human agency in the task of preaching. The thesis then examines the metaphor of THE PREACHER AS ARTIST. This attempt to re-describe the identity of preachers draws on a theology of communion and the doctrine of the vicarious humanity of Christ to relocate the identity and practice of the preacher in the creative and ongoing ministry of Jesus. The metaphorical association of the preacher and artist understood within the artistic ministry of Jesus Christ frees the full range of human capacities, including the imagination. It connects preachers to the person and work of Jesus Christ, who took the raw materials of the human condition and offered them back to the Father in a redemptive and imaginative fashion through the Holy Spirit.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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