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Title: The transforming sermon : a study of the preaching of St. Augustine, with special reference to the Sermones ad populum, and the transformation theory of James Loder
Author: Boyd-MacMillan, Ronald R.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2689 7434
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis examines the popular sermons of St. Augustine of Hippo and the transformation theory of practical theologian James Loder in the search to find a version of the “transformative sermon”.  The need to seek such a sermonic form is the result of a damaging form/content divide in modern homiletics, where sermons focus too exclusively on underlying anthropologies of either “we are what we know”, or “we are what we feel”.  Augustine offers a different anthropology: “we are what we love”, and it is argued that there is in his sermons a deep transformational logic which seeks to excite and redirect the hearer’s love towards God. After an overview of Augustine’s sermonic corpus, his sermons are examined in their unique elements, introducing as he does a new form of the sermon – a mixture of great rhetorical sophistication, theological profundity, and a deliberate artlessness which attempts to make his audience “co-creators” of the preaching event.  Then his theology of transformation is examined in three of his major theological works, The Confessions, The Trinity, and The City of God.  Then I examine Augustine’s expectations of transformation as a result of his sermons, first in his literature about preaching, and secondly, in his sermons themselves.  Finally, I examine in depth the actual logic or substructure in his sermons that seeks to create transformation, identified as a four fold structure involving specific psychological, theological, ethical-communal and rhetorical components. This transformational logic is then examined through the lens of a contemporary transformation theory, that of James E. Loder’s which thickens the description of Augustine’s sermonic moves. Finally, the two thinkers are combined to produce a preliminary form of the transformative sermon, one which goes some way to resolving the modern polarities in homiletics today.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available