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Title: The theological hermeneutics of homiletical application and Ecclesiastes 7:23-29
Author: Spears, Aubrey Dickson
ISNI:       0000 0004 2742 7100
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2006
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The aim of this study is to expose the theological-hermeneutical substructure of homiletical application, and thereby to produce a fresh approach to homiletical application. Broadly construed as the point of contact between the text and the congregation, homiletical application is the most significant problem facing contemporary homiletics. Chapter one introduces the problem and identifies the four contemporary homiletical approaches to application: Contemporary Traditional Homiletics (CTH), New Homiletics (NH), Post-Liberal Homiletics (PLH), and (radically) Post-Modern Homiletics (PMH). Chapter two is a case study of CTH, exposi ng its theological-hermeneutical presuppositions and their impact on the view of application espoused by CTH. In chapter three we classify the three ways in which contemporary homiletics conceive of application hermeneutically: as distinct from understanding, involved in understanding, and determinate of understanding. CTH espouses the former view, NH the middle view, and PMH the latter view. PLH taps into both the involved and the determinate approaches. Exploring the hermeneutical ecology of application (textuality, language, history, and epistemology) reveals strengths and weaknesses of each view and establishes the polymorphous nature of application; i.e., its objcct determines the nature of application. In chapter four we face the inevitable challenges of objectivism on the one hand and radical relativism on the other hand. Navigating these two extremes in terms of the role of application in the process of understanding brings the nature of application sharply into focus. Conceiving of understanding in Gadamer's terms of a fusion of horizons allows the homiletician to respect the heterogeneity of the whole range of language games, to affirm a robust understanding of the nature of truth, to discipline interpretation by the text at hand and yet to acknowledge the necessary and creative role of the interpreter in the process of understanding, and finally to recognize the transformative power of the text. In chapters five and six we approach Ecclesiastes 7:23-29 with the view of application developed in chapters one through four. Chapter five is an interpretation of Ecclesiastes 7:23-29 with attention given to the particular way in which the reader is structured into the meaning ofthe text, and thus to the specific nature of application in the process of understanding particular text. Chapter six identifies three questions that empower a preacher to make the move from studying the passage to preaching the passage. These three quest ions reveal that a polymorphic approach to application not only exposes the weakness and exploits the strengths of CTH, NH, PLH. and PMH, but it also empowers one to go beyond the current approaches into a more robust homiletic that enables the preacher and congregation to engage the immediate presence of the text as the interconection of thought, feeling, imagination, and truth is recovered.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available