Joseph A. Sittler (1904-1987) was one of the most influential theologians of the twentieth century, distinguished for his pioneering work in ecology and for his preeminence as a preacher. He gave both the Beecher Lectures at Yale and the Noble Lectures at Harvard. As the "preacher's theologian," Sittler approached the interpretation of Scripture with a clear understanding of current critical scholarship, but also in the freedom of the gospel at the center of Scripture and with the humility of a theologian of the cross. In following the trajectory of the text into the preaching situation he gave a lively, timeless, and eloquent expression to the fact that the interpretation of texts is in the service of proclamation.
This collection of readings from Sittler's rich legacy contains a great many presentations and sermons that have never before appeared in print. Theologically serious preaching, close attention to language, engagement with the best of sacred and secular culture, and a deep respect for the text, all characteristics of Sittler's work, are the sort of features that continue to edify. They remain as benchmarks for good preaching even as styles and contexts evolve.
Endorsements & Reviews-
"This book is a trove for discerning preachers. The text comes from one of the premier American theologians of the twentieth century. His vast work has been sifted for us by two similarly significant theologians of the present century: Richard Lischer and James M. Childs. Through their careful editing, we see three great minds at play in the field of homiletics and theology. After reading all the how-to books on preaching, read this one for the 'why to' of preaching. It will fund both beginning and experienced preachers with theological purpose through a preaching career." --Clay Schmit, Provost, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary
"A problem with the legacy of a life like Sittler's, devoted as it is to the spoken word, is it disappears when its sound waves have died. . . . Yet, this book by its very existence demonstrates, ironically, how valid and valuable written rhetoric is, can be, and as books like this one live on, will be." --From the foreword by Martin E. Marty
James M. Childs, Jr. Richard Lischer
Richard Lischer is James T. and Alice Mead Cleland Professor of Preaching at Duke Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina. He is the author of The Preacher King: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Word that Moved America (1995) and The End of Words: The Language of Reconciliation in a Culture of Violence (2005).
James M. Childs Jr., formerly the Joseph A. Sittler Professor of Theology and Ethics at Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio, now serves there as Senior Research Professor. He is the author of Ethics in the Community of Promise: Faith, Formation, and Decision (2nd ed., 2006) and The Way of Peace: Christian Life in the Face of Discord (2008).