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The Scandal of Having Something to Say
Ricoeur and the Possibility of Postliberal Preaching

By Lance B. Pape

The Scandal of Having Something to Say
Hardback, 176 pages $29.95
Published: 15th January 2013
ISBN: 9781602585287
Format: 9in x 6in

Subjects: All Religious Studies, All Theology, Preaching

The Christian sermon—once the chief symbol of authority in Western culture—often appears in the postmodern imagination as synonymous with irrelevancy, biased judgment, and a rejection of absolute truth. While Christian preachers mourn the cultural disintegration of their hallowed practice, Lance B. Pape believes this modern turn enables the preacher to rediscover the sermon. Proclaiming the gospel, he contends, lies not in the cultural acceptance of the message but in God's free act of self-communication. Using Karl Barth's theology of the Word, Hans Frei's hermeneutical method, and, chiefly, Paul Ricoeur's theory of narrative as threefold mimesis, Pape develops a homiletic that recaptures the scandalous intent of the gospel. The Scandal of Having Something to Say then casts the post-liberal preacher as a "surrogate reader" of the biblical text on behalf of the congregation and opens new avenues for practice through the analysis and critique of two sermons.

1. The Scandal of Having Something to Say
2. Hans Frei on How to Read during an Eclipse
3. Paul Ricoeur and the World of the Text
4. A Ricoeurian Revision of Postliberal Homiletics
5. Preaching as Threefold Mimesis

"The Scandal of Having Something to Say is a tour de force. Pape not only provides a clear and compelling analysis of Ricoeur's narrative hermeneutics, but releases its power for biblical preaching. Pape develops an approach to preaching that gives the preacher something urgent to say across a lifetime of preaching."

—Thomas G. Long, Bandy Professor of Preaching, Candler School of Theology, Emory University

"Pape's engagement with Ricoeur is conversant and accessible, yet, due to the nature of the subject, the road ahead will take a lifetime to travel..."

—Samjung Kang-Hamilton, Restoration Quarterly

"When applied to preaching, the liberal approach may take one of two extreme forms. The progressive option features a kind of naturalism that refuses the notion of revelation and the supernaturalism of miracles, along with the tradition that attested them. One can see how historical criticism helped to explain away what was unintelligible to this rationality: “It is the Sea of Reeds, not the Red Sea.” The second liberal approach, in response to such progressivism, is a conservative attempt to reduce unmanageable mystery to a set of propositions that can provide a reassuring certitude. Both modes of liberal preaching are alive and well as the body of Christ is divided up, like Christ’s robe, into blue and red. Pape offers a critical reflection on the major postliberal figures and suggests how preaching might be different in their wake."

—Walter Brueggemann, author of The Practice of Prophetic Imagination

"Pape makes creative use of Ricoeur's threefold understanding of textual mimesis. The Scandal of Having Something to Say is an indispensable contribution to the ongoing scholarly conversation about postliberal homiletics."

—John S. McClure, Charles G. Finney Professor of Preaching and Worship, Vanderbilt Divinity School

"...those who choose to think with Pape will learn much from his skillful elucidation."

—Aaron Klink, Duke University, Religious Studies Review

Lance B. Pape is Granville and Erline Walker Assistant Professor of Homiletics, Brite Divinity School.

Publication Details:

 Hardback , 176 pages
 9in x 6in

  REL067000, REL080000
 Baylor University Press

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