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Title page for ETD etd-03272011-124135

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Tracy, Roy Alexander
Author's Email Address royatracy@gmail.com
URN etd-03272011-124135
Title Preaching and the Holy Spirit: Postliberal Homiletics and Formation in a Pneumatologically Grounded Ecclesiology
Degree PhD
Department Religion
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
John S. McClure Committee Chair
David G. Buttrick Committee Member
Paul J. DeHart Committee Member
Robin M. Jensen Committee Member
  • Narrative Christology
  • Cultural-Linguistic Model
  • Rhetoric
  • Four Codes
  • Walter Brueggemann
  • John McClure
  • Pneumatology
  • Preaching
  • Spiritual Formation
  • Doctrine
  • Core Practices
  • Theology
  • John Zizioulas
  • Charles Campbell
  • Hans Frei
  • George Lindbeck
  • Trinitarian Theology
Date of Defense 2011-03-16
Availability unrestricted
One of the notable lacks in current homiletic literature is a paucity of reflection on the work of the Holy Spirit and the relationship between that work and the task of preaching. This is true even in postliberal homiletics, despite the emphasis this model places on forming individuals and communities. Postliberal homiletics, such as that of Charles Campbell, ground preaching in an extreme christocentrism that relegates the Spirit to a secondary role.

This dissertation draws on the pneumatological ecclesiology developed by Reinhard Hütter to describe the work of the Holy Spirit as it relates to doctrine and the “core practices” of the church, and it develops the implications of that model for preaching. I suggest that, in such a model, preaching functions as a mode of practical theology that aims to form communities for the eschatologically-oriented praxis of doxology. Doctrine and the core practices are described in terms analogous to the Incarnation as the enhypostases of the Spirit. Doctrine mediates the promises of God that are implicit in the narrative of Christ’s life, death, and Resurrection. Christian practices are developed according to a sacramental logic as doxological acts in which the community is brought into communion with God through its own participation in the Christ event.

Preaching functions as an intermediary between these two poles in the role of that Hütter attributes to theology. Preaching as practical theology performs three key activities which correspond to three modes of the Spirit’s work. First, it discursively unfolds the economy of salvation and the promises of God. Second, it performs hermeneutical acts of theological judgment utilizing a phenomenology of the Spirit and the analysis of contextual challenges to doxological praxis. Third, preaching engages in ad hoc catechesis, an activity whose practical aspects are examined in light of John McClure’s “Four Codes” model of homiletic rhetoric.

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