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Augustine's Theology of Preaching

by Peter T. Sanlon

Publication Year: 2014

Scholarship has painted many pictures of Augustine—the philosophical theologian, the refuter of heresy, or contributor to doctrines like Original Sin—but the picture of Augustine as preacher, says Sanlon, has been seriously neglected. When academics marginalize the Sermones ad Populum, the real Augustine is not presented accurately. In this study, Sanlon does more, however, than rehabilitate a neglected view of Augustine.

How do the theological convictions that Augustine brought to his preaching challenge, sustain, or shape our work today? By presenting Augustine’s thought on preaching to contemporary readers Sanlon contributes a major new piece to the ongoing reconsideration of preaching in the modern day, a consideration that is relevant to all branches of the twenty-first century church.

Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers

Praise, Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication, Quote

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

I have accumulated many debts of gratitude in the course of this project. Professor David Ford was a generous doctoral supervisor, always happy to discuss theological matters when countless other responsibilities called for his attention. The staff and students of Ridley Hall were patient with their longest...


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pp. xiii-xvi

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pp. xvii-xviii

We aim to articulate the undergirding theological convictions which shaped and informed Augustine’s preaching. By doing this, we hope to provide a meaningful hermeneutic of Augustine’s preaching, which may be used to interpret his Sermones ad Populum. The thesis involves a close reading of the...

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pp. xix-xxiv

The aim of our study is to suggest a meaningful hermeneutical key for interpreting Augustine’s Sermones ad Populum. It is hoped that suggesting such a guide through the Sermones will illuminate the undergirding theological convictions which shaped Augustine’s approach to the task of preaching...

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pp. xxv-xxxii

Preachers often ponder the state of preaching. The influence, methods and reception of mentors are weighed. When this is done, there is frequently fearfulness about the future of preaching. So Tim Keller spoke at the American memorial to John Stott, saying, “John Stott reinvented expository preaching...

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1. The Historical Context of Augustine’s Preaching

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pp. 1-22

The concerns of this book are primarily doctrinal, in that our intent is to expose the undergirding philosophical-theological assumptions which informed Augustine’s preaching. Nevertheless, doctrine is neither formulated nor promulgated in an historical vacuum. In order to give due recognition to the...

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2. Pagan Oratory

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pp. 23-50

Augustine holds a foundational place in the development of the Christian sermon. This is partly due to the fact that he began life as a professional teacher of rhetoric. His conversion led to him being changed from a professor of rhetoric into a Christian preacher. His unique experiences put him in the...

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3. Training Preachers: De Doctrina Christiana

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pp. 51-70

This chapter is a study of De Doctrina. Our attempt to expose the undergirding doctrinal assumptions of Augustine’s preaching would be incomplete without a consideration of this extremely rich book. De Doctrina was the first (and remains one of the most stimulating) Christian writings on the task of preaching...

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4. Interiority, Temporality, and Scripture

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pp. 71-98

Augustine’s preaching reveals a particular concern for both interiority and temporality, and that this is due to his using Scripture to change listeners. This chapter aims to offer preliminary definitions of interiority and temporality, our two hermeneutical keys. These terms are constructive theological developments...

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5. Case Study: Riches and Money

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pp. 99-120

Our three case study chapters aim to explore inductively themes which were of particular importance in Augustine’s preaching. It is hoped that these studies deepen the conclusions drawn in our book, and provide the reader with something of the experience of reading through Augustine’s Sermones. This...

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6. Case Study: Death and Resurrection

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pp. 121-146

Augustine’s preaching does not merely make frequent reference to death and resurrection: it is saturated with a thorough-going emphasis upon the end of mortal life. A case study upon this theme of death and resurrection permits us to examine how Augustine appealed to interiority and temporality when applying...

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7. Case Study: Relationships

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pp. 147-170

The people listening to Augustine preach were varied in age, gender, and status; Augustine mentions in a letter that both sexes listen to the Scripture reading in church together.2 Part of the value of the Sermones, then, is their ability to portray something of what Augustine thought about ordinary human...

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8. Conclusion

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pp. 171-178

We began our book by exploring the historical context of Augustine’s preaching. Chapter 1 showed that we recognize that, although our study is a doctrinal investigation, doctrine is not formulated in isolation from cultural and historical realities. Following on from that background we considered...


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pp. 179-208


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pp. 209-211

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781451487602
E-ISBN-10: 1451487606
Print-ISBN-13: 9781451482782
Print-ISBN-10: 1451482787

Page Count: 200
Publication Year: 2014