Concept

Homiletics

Summary
In religious studies, homiletics (ὁμιλητικός homilētikós, from homilos, "assembled crowd, throng") is the application of the general principles of rhetoric to the specific art of public preaching. One who practices or studies homiletics may be called a homilist, or more simply, a preacher. Homiletics, the art of preaching, studies both the composition and the delivery of religious discourses. It includes all forms of preaching, including sermons, homilies and catechetical instruction. Homiletics may be further defined as the study of the analysis, classification, preparation, composition, and delivery of sermons. The formation of the Lyman Beecher course at Yale University resulted in an increased emphasis on homiletics. The published volumes of this series include information regarding the history and practice of the discipline. The Catholic Encyclopedia defines homiletics as "that branch of rhetoric that treats of the composition and delivery of sermons or homilies". This definition was influential in the 19th century among thinkers like John Broadus and Karl Barth. Karl resisted this definition of the term, saying that homiletics should retain a critical distance from rhetoric. The homiletic-rhetorical relationship has been a major issue in homiletic theory since the mid-20th century. The first form of preaching was largely the homily. Jesus preached and commissioned his apostles to do so. His preaching included two forms of the sermon, the missionary and the ministerial. Missionary sermons are given to outsiders and correspond the Catholic magisterium. Ministerial sermons are given to those already part of the movement, corresponding to the Catholic ministerium. For example, Jesus' Sermon on the Mount is a missionary sermon. By contrast, his discourse after the Last Supper () is ministerial. It cannot be said that Jesus' preaching took any definite, rounded form, in the sense of a modern sermon. His aim was to sow the seed of the word, which he scattered abroad, like the sower in the parable.
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