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Preaching and the Revelatory Plot: An Alternative to the Resolution Plot in Narrative Preaching

COOLING, MARGARET (2022) Preaching and the Revelatory Plot: An Alternative to the Resolution Plot in Narrative Preaching. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF (Homiletics PhD Thesis) - Accepted Version
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This thesis presents the case for the revelatory plot as a framework for narrative preaching. It offers an alternative to the resolution plot with its arc from conflict to climax and resolution and its emphasis on action and event. The revelatory plot is a more open form that prioritizes character and thought, with insights gained through earthed particulars. It is a minor plot form from literature and drama, but this thesis contends it is a significant form in some styles of art, from which preachers can learn. This synthesis of art, homiletics and the revelatory plot constitutes a new and deeply embodied approach.
A revelatory sermon form is developed that unfolds biblical narratives in order to expose emotional, physical, social-economic, political and spiritual realities that are frequently assumed but not stated in the text. This displays the faith of biblical characters practised in the complexities of life and creates a form of preaching where relevance is achieved through identification and recognition. The revelatory style uses language that carries a sense of the reality of God working in the everyday world and engages imagination in all its functions.
A cooperative hermeneutic — where author, text and reader create an arena to progress meaning — provides the hermeneutical underpinning. The epistemological foundation is a form of personal knowledge, and critical realism provides the philosophical standpoint. Theologically, this thesis draws on understandings of creation, the imago Dei and incarnation to affirm the material world and humanity as potential ways to learn about God. This is developed in a theology of revelation, with understandings of God coming through general revelation within an interpretive framework of special revelation. The central thesis is that sermons using a revelatory plot can deliver invitational, relevant and embodied preaching that affirms ordinary faith and embraces the complexity of Christian faith lived in the world.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Narrative Preaching, Homiletics, Revelatory plot, showing style
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2022
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:19 Jan 2022 15:35

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