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Homiletic Moves and Structures Paperback – Large Print, March 1, 1987
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From the Back Cover
Homiletics is an odd discipline. You cannot talk of sermon design without some glimmer of what sermons are made of, and you cannot comprehend the internal parts of a sermon without a grasp of sermon design--a 'Homiletic Circle' of sorts. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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The author's use of actual scripture and texts helps to illustrate and drive home key points in the foundation, building blocks and structure of the sermon.
The book is a little heavy, but very thought provoking. I highly recommend it for any preacher who
wants to strengthen their preaching.
This is a must have for anyone concerned with the discipline of preaching. While some of the techniques might seem past their "best by used date," I have not found a style more accessible to the discipline of preaching than this one. While Craddock, Lowry, Troeger, and others attempt to "teach" their style of preaching (mainly teaching us how to preach like them - which is difficult unless you are them!), often giving a philosophy without satisfying examples, Buttrick lays the ground work and lets you apply your own sense of creativity and style to the form. He provides the frame, while we still get to paint the picture. The frame is not one size fits all, but a structure which will keep the sermon grounded, focused, and attainable for your listeners (warning: when at its best whole outlines will be recited back to you). Simply put: your congregations will be grateful.
Buttrick's approach to preaching is different than most because he actually took the time to learn how the listener hears and remembers sermons. Thus, his homilitec is geared toward constructing sermons that people will actually remember after they leave worship. He also spends half of the book on the art of interpreting the biblical text with regards to preaching, arguing that different literary forms demand different types of sermons. Thus, narratives should begat narrative sermons, pedagogic passages should begat pedagogic sermons, and parables should begat parabolic sermons.
Only one caveat. Since his approach is based on how people hear, it implies that the art of preaching needs to be continually reformed because how people hear and remember tomorrow will be different than they do today. Put differently, thirty years from now, "Homiletic" will be obsolete. My guess, however, is that if Buttrick is still teaching, he will be teaching an entirely new approach to art of preaching.