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Title page for ETD etd-07092015-151104

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Anthony, Benjamin Jay
Author's Email Address benjaminjayanthony@gmail.com
URN etd-07092015-151104
Title Christ in Boston: The Death and Afterlife of Phillips Brooks
Degree PhD
Department Religion
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
John S. McClure Committee Chair
Bruce T. Morrill Committee Member
Mark D. Jordan Committee Member
Robin M. Jenson Committee Member
Ted A. Smith Committee Member
  • truth through personality
  • preaching
  • homiletics
  • Phillips Brooks
Date of Defense 2015-05-07
Availability unrestricted
In 1893 Phillips Brooks died the best-known preacher of his generation and a beloved pastor to the city of Boston. His death abbreviated his life but not his influence. A diverse archive preserved memories of him and his preaching. This project uncovers the ways that these documents and their reception have contributed to an “afterlife” for Brooks. This dissertation investigates four bodies of literature that form the basis of this afterlife: (1) speeches related to his consecration to the episcopate; (2) the memorial addresses prepared after his death; (3) Alexander V.G. Allen’s Life and Letters of Phillips Brooks, the first and longest biography written about Brooks; and (4) Brooks’s Lectures on Preaching and citations of the “truth through personality” definition lifted from that text. The claim of this dissertation is that print made memories of Brooks durable in a way that promised an immortality that ultimately could not be sustained. Michel de Certeau’s theory of historiography enables an examination of this “immortality” and its eventual decay. The result is a series of essays that blend historiography and theology into a display of the exceptional but still mortal personality of Phillips Brooks.

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