All posts tagged: exegesis

Augustine’s Homiletic Meteorology

Augustine was a fantastic preacher. How do we know that? We get a glimpse of his popularity as a preacher from some of the asides that he addresses to his congregation. At the end of his “exposition” or sermon on Psalm 38, which runs twenty-five pages in English translation and would probably have taken about an hour to preach, Augustine tells his congregation, somewhat bluntly, “Well, brothers and sisters, if I have burdened and wearied you, put up with it, for this sermon has been hard work for me too.” Then he adds, “But in fact you have only yourselves to blame if you feel overworked, because if I felt you were getting bored with what was being said, I would stop immediately” (38.23, III/16, 193). We know that Augustine’s church often rocked with applause and cheers, and sometimes tears. Augustine’s hearers looked forward eagerly to his preaching. At the beginning of a twenty-seven page sermon, he remarks, “Indeed, I see that you are all agog, eager to understand the mysteries of this prophecy. Anything …

The World in the Text: Reading the Bible with the Church of Africa

Are Africans, as Desmond Tutu once opined, “much more on the wavelength of the Bible than the Occidental ever was”?[1] Should one listen to African exegetes more closely since, as Philip Jenkins has argued, their experience of inhabiting the world of the Bible represents the vanguard of a growing shift of Christianity towards the global South?[2] These are questions worth pondering. I think there is abundant evidence—both theological and empirical—to suggest that the Bible plays a role among African Christians that is profound, communal, and suggestive of a new paradigm for ecclesial exegesis. Let us take two examples from Scripture: the Exodus event and the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. Mercy Amba Oduyuye, a Ghanian scholar born into a matrilineal Akana culture, offers scholarly insights on Exodus. She is a Methodist laywoman who studied in Cambridge, England, founded the Circle of Concerned African Women in 1989, and was awarded an honorary doctorate from Yale.[3] She sees deep commonalities between Africans and the experience of the Hebrew people: “The victory song led by …