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date: 04 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Some interpretations of Barth’s theology emphasize the constraints it places on the practice of preaching. This chapter argues that, granting Barth’s affirmation of certain homiletical limits, the implications of Barth’s theology for the task of proclamation are best understood under the category of freedom. The first half of the chapter provides an overview of Barth’s homiletical theology, including its Trinitarian backdrop, the Christological aspects of his doctrines of the ‘Word of God’ and of ‘reconciliation’, and the implications of these commitments for Barth’s homiletical approach. The second half explores three issues related to the preacher’s task: the use of language, the role of cognate disciplines in homiletical theory (particularly rhetoric), and the use of ‘secular’ material in sermons. In each case, the chapter demonstrates the way in which, for Barth, the freedom of the preacher is not freedom from all constraint but a freedom for cooperation in the mission of the eloquent and radiant God.

Keywords: freedom, homiletics, language participation, preaching, proclamation, rhetoric, Word of God

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