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Going from Text to Proposition Forging the hermeneutical link between Exegesis and Homiletics.

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Presentation on theme: "Going from Text to Proposition Forging the hermeneutical link between Exegesis and Homiletics."— Presentation transcript:

1 Going from Text to Proposition Forging the hermeneutical link between Exegesis and Homiletics

2 The Hermeneutical Plan 1.Delimit the text 2.Write the text in a block outline 3.Identify the single exegetical idea 4.Analyze the text verbally & theologically 5.“Principalize” the exegetical idea into the sermon proposition, and Reflect the text in developing 2-3 points 6.Develop the conclusion straight from the sermon proposition

3 Step One: Delimit the Text Objective: focus on text that expresses a single main idea Epistle: often a lectionary reading will contain more than one main idea Narrative: often, a story is too large, & requires focus on a single part or moment

4 Step Two: Write block outline Each clause & phrase is written out in the order of the text Each “syntactical unit” is written out on a separate line The “proposition” of the delimited text, or the “exegetical idea” (same thing) is brought to the margin Syntactical units that support or modify the theme are indented Material which modify these units are indented under (& over) these units (use arrows to indicate what is being modified)

5 Example of Block Outlining Ephesians Careful, then, watch how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. and do not get drunk on wine for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, by speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, by singing and in your heart to the Lord. making melody by giving thanks always for all things in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father. And by submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.

6 Step Three: Identify the single exegetical idea Remember that the “theme phrase” of the text is OFTEN not at the beginning or the end, but is most frequently nested within the main body. Identify the central phrase that “holds everything together” If there are two or more phrases (or if none are explicit) then formulate a phrase that can contain the statements of the text. Subordinate propositions should have the same level of indentation in the outline.

7 Example exegetical idea: From Ephesians , the block outline shows: “Watch how you walk, so do not be foolish or drunken, but be filled with the Holy Spirit.” The subordinate points would extend the meaning of being filled with the Holy Spirit, in four parallel points (participles): by speaking spiritually, by singing to the Lord, by constant thanksgiving, and by submitting to each other.

8 Step Four: Analyze the text Verbal Analysis Note the relation of the text to surrounding paragraphs in the book, & the book’s relation to the rest of Scripture General objective of verbal analysis is to reveal the author’s original intention. Frequently, this means not only translating from the original language, but more so from the original culture (e.g., “employees” instead of “slaves” … “single mother’s welfare check” instead of “the widow’s mite”)

9 Figures of Speech Verbal Analysis, continued Look for, and understand, the text’s figures of speech (or “tropes”) Definition: a figure of speech is a conscious departure from the natural or fixed laws of grammar and syntax Some questions for identification: o Is there a mismatch between subject and predicate? o Is a colorful word followed by a word which defines it? o Would the state be absurd if one took the statement literally? o Is there a reason for using a figure of speech at this point? o Are examples of this figure of speech found elsewhere?

10 Some frequently-occurring Biblical figures of speech: 1.Figures of Comparison 1. Simile : an expressed or formal comparison between two things E.g., “He shall be like a tree” (Psalm 1.3) 2. Metaphor : an implied or unexpressed comparison where an idea is carried over from one thing to another E.g., “Go tell that fox” (Luke 13.22) 2.Figures of Addition: 1. Pleonasm : a redundancy of expression where more words than are necessary are used in order to obtain a certain effect on the audience E.g., “The butler did not remember, but forgot” (Genesis 40.23) 2. Paranomasia: the repetition of words that are simlar in sound, but not necessarily in sense or meaning E.g., “Having all sufficiency in all things” (παντι παντοτε πασαν) 3. Hyperbole : a conscious exaggeration to increase the effect of what is said E.g., “I am wearing with my sighing: yea, I make my bed swim” (Psalm 6.6) 4. Hendiadys: the use of two words when only one thing is meant: E.g., “It rained fire and brimstone” (i.e., “burning sulphur”, Genesis 19.24)

11 Some frequently-occurring Biblical figures of speech (continued): 3.Figures of Relation 1. Synecdoche : the exchange of one idea for another associated idea – frequently, a part may be used for the whole or the whole for a part E.g., “All the world went to be taxed” (Luke 2.1) 2. Metonymy : the exchange of one noun for a related noun E.g., “They have Moses and the prophets” (i.e., they have the books, not the men themselves, Luke 16.29) 4.Figures of Contrast: 1. Irony : the use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning E.g., “Behold, man is become one of Us” (Genesis 3.22) 2. Litotes: a belittling of one thing to magnify the other E.g., “I am but dust and ashes” (Abraham’s abjection before God, Genesis 18.27) 3. Euphemism : the exchange of a harsh, disagreeable or indelicate word or expression for a more pleasant, gentler or modest one E.g., “He covers his feet” (one’s garments fall around his feet when he stoops to relieve himself, Judges 3.24)

12 Parallel Passages Look in parallel passages to interpret the meaning of the text: and there are two kinds of these 1.Verbal parallel passage: makes use of the same word in a similar connection or with reference to the same subject E.g., St. Paul’s use of the word “mystery” in about twenty different passages 2.Topical parallel passage: deals with similar facts, subjects, sentiments, or doctrines, though the words, phrases and clauses may be different The main example here are the “synoptics” in the Old Testament – parallel narratives in Kings and Chronicles; and the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke); and also the strange phenomenon of other repeated passages (Psalms 14 & 53; Psalm 18 & 2 Kings 22; Psalm 96 & 1 Chronicles 16; Jude and 2 Peter) 3.Be wary of the “hapax legomenon” phenomenon: this is when a word is used only once

13 Theological Analysis Some words hold significant meaning, and act as “trigger-words” to call to the audience’s mind the apostolic teaching on the subject Identify these terms, and research them (using reference words like Kittel’s TDNT and Bible dictionaries and commentaries) Pay attention to the meaning of the word at the time of the writing: words change in meaning with time (the TDNT is helpful in this historic view) Pay more attention to the meaning of the word or phrase as it has been interpreted in Holy Tradition

14 Theological Analysis To consult Tradition, it is important to be aware of two streams: 1.The Patristic Commentaries (e.g., those expositional references of Chrysostom; and those arrangements like Jurgens’ The Faith of the Early Fathers & Oden’s Ancient Christian Commentary) 2.The Patristic Dogmas (e.g., St. John of Damascus’ Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith; and other significant Patristic theological treatises) You must satisfy two expositional requirements in interpretation: 1.You must be true to the legacy of Holy Tradition’s interpretation of this particular text!, and 2.You must be true to the exegetical meaning of the text: you cannot impose your own extra-Scriptural meaning on Scripture – this is “eisogesis” as opposed to “exegesis,” and this you cannot do!

15 Example Verbal Analysis This passage of “watchfulness” is in context of St. Paul’s discussion of “walking” in the new nature, while still in the world of darkness & passion “Watch” in 5.15 is imperative, and so are the parallel calls to wisdom: “do not be foolish or drunk,” “understand,” “be filled with the Spirit” “Walk” is a metaphor for “living” and “making moral choices “being drunk” is a metaphor, even a synecdoche for sinful, passionate and foolish life in general “being filled” is a metaphor for theosis, and the human cooperative work is defined as corporate prayer, constant individual prayer, Liturgy & kenotic community

16 Example Verbal Analysis This passage of “watchfulness” is in context of St. Paul’s discussion of “walking” in the new nature, while still in the world of darkness & passion “Watch” in 5.15 is imperative, and so are the parallel calls to wisdom: “do not be foolish or drunk,” “understand,” “be filled with the Spirit” “Walk” is a metaphor for “living” and “making moral choices “being drunk” is a metaphor, even a synecdoche for sinful, passionate and foolish life in general “being filled” is a metaphor for theosis, and the human cooperative work is defined as corporate prayer, constant individual prayer, Liturgy & kenotic community

17 Example Verbal Analysis The passage is poetic, with paranomasia rhyming: α ϕ ρονες (“be foolish” 5.17) λαλουντες (“speaking” 5.19) αδοντες (“singing” 5.19) ψαλλοντες (“making melody” 5.19) ευχαριστουντες (“giving thanks” 5.20)

18 Example Verbal Analysis Parallel passages: There are no real verbal parallels But there are topical parallel passages, especially in the so-called “household passages” of Paul: o Romans o Philippians o 1 Thessalonians In each of these, St. Paul directs the Church to be filled and taught by the Spirit, in the form of Apostolic Doctrine, and marked by joy and peace

19 Example Verbal Analysis Theological Analysis: “watch” is linked to “nepsis,” or the cautious heed over the soul The wisdom required in “walking” in the light of Christ is differentiated from the lazy, insensible and stultified condition of drunkenness, or “sleep” as mentioned by Christ The fullness of the Spirit is theosis! But theosis does not come to the lazy fool, but to those who participate synergistically in worship, constant prayer, Eucharist and Christian submission

20 Example Verbal Analysis Theological Analysis: The following terms require attention: o “Watch” in 5.15 o “Wise” in 5.15 o “Foolish” in 5.17 o “Be filled with the Spirit” in 5.18 o “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” in 5.19 o Eucharist, or “thanksgiving” in 5.20 o “submitting” in 5.21

21 Step Five: Principalize Objective: apply the “exegetical idea” or proposition of the text to your audience Remove strictly personal, momentary or local identifications, and generalize to apply to God’s people in general, and your audience in particular Identify what this exegetical idea says to the Christian condition in general Support, confirm and explain this principal in supportive points that follow the supportive points in the block outline

22 Generalization This is especially important in narrative, as the “moral” of the story is an explicit example of generalizing from one man’s experience to all men The Lord’s parables are already generalized: the stories are about “everyman,” and the conclusions are already exegetical ideas The work of generalization requires doctrinal and spiritual knowledge on your part EG: the Prodigal Son requires your awareness that any human being can repent at any time, without determinism or belief in “limited atonement”

23 Not Sola Scriptura at all! Generalization is much harder for protestants who accept the exegetical rule of sola scriptura This is an impossible rubric for exegesis or homiletics In Orthodox exegesis and homiletics, we accept explicitly what protestants end up doing implicitly We START with doctrine, proceed through the necessary “narrative” or “filter” of Scripture, and direct our preaching to our people: we END at their situation!

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25 Example Principalization The exegetical idea is: “Watch how you walk, so do not be foolish or drunken, but be filled with the Holy Spirit.” This is not difficult (as is true of most epistolary passages) to principalize, as it is already general. In reflecting the hesychastic teaching on nepsis, and the Orthodox witness of theosis, consider this proposition: “As we walk in a dark world, we must watch so we don’t stumble in moral drunkenness, but we can rejoice in the fullness of the Spirit”

26 Step Six: Conclude & Motivate! Develop a conclusion straight from the sermon proposition. If possible, the conclusion should re-introduce an element from the introduction – to establish a “bracketing” effect It should be an “if … then” statement, like “since Christ is risen, then we cannot be hopeless”: the proposition should have obvious consequences A conclusion must motivate a concrete application of the proposition – it should not be diffused into a whole catalog of virtuous actions A conclusion should also bear in mind that the homily is positioned within Liturgy, and cannot distract the mind from the Eucharist

27 Example Conclusion Introduction: use well-known Febreze commercial in which two persons are blindfolded, placed in ugly, noxious surroundings, & fooled by air spray “St Paul warns us to not walk blindfolded, but with open eyes of wisdom” Conclusion returns to the ugly scene – but this is expanded to mean the world today The only way to walk is not by some cosmetic spray (i.e., the self-medication of passion), but by keeping the Word in our heart through prayer

28 Your Assignment for Next Week Develop an exegesis on Ephesians (the 27 th Sunday after Pentecost) Clearly identify the exegetical idea Compose a clear, short single-sentence proposition Write an outline with 2 or 3 main points Write an introduction and conclusion in full


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