A sermon is an oration by a
prophetor member of the clergy. Sermons address a Biblical, theological, or religious topic, usually expounding on a type of beliefor lawwithin both past and present contexts.
Christianity, a sermon (also known as a homilywithin the Catholic Church) is often delivered in a place of worship, most of which have a pulpitor ambo, an elevated architectural feature. The word "sermon" comes from a Middle Englishword which was derived from an Old Frenchterm, which in turn came from the Latinword "sermō"; ("discourse"). The word can mean "conversation", which could mean that early sermons were delivered in the form of question and answer, and that only later did it come to mean a monologue. In contrast to this, is the examples from the Bible, where sermons are speeches without interlocution: Moses' sermon in Deuteronomy1-33 [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=5&chapter=1&version=9] ; Jesus' sermon on the mountin Matthew 5-7 [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matt%205-7;&version=9;] ; Peter's sermon after Pentecostin Acts 2:14-40 [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=acts%202:14-40;&version=9;] .
In modern language, the word "sermon" can also be used
pejoratively in secular terms to describe a lengthy or tedious speech delivered with great passion, by any person, to an uninterested audience. A sermonette is a short sermon (usually associated with television broadcasting, as stations would present a sermonette before signing off for the night).
In traditional Indian philosophy, a teacher or
gurudelivers a talk known as a satsang.
In rabbinic Judaism, homiletical literature is found primarily in various forms of Biblical exegesis, known as
midrash. Sermons center around Torah studyand, as is prevalent in the modern period, during prayer services.
Islam, the Khutba(Arabic: (خطبة khuṭbah) is a sermon delivered before Friday prayers and after Eid prayers. There is also a khutba delivered during Hajj in the plains of Arafat, just outside Mecca. This khutba addresses the entire Muslim nation, as its message is carried back by pilgrims to their respective homelands.
ermons in the Christian tradition
In Christianity, the most famous sermon is the
Sermon on the Mountby Jesus of Nazareth. This sermon was probably preached around 30 A.D. and is recounted in the Gospel of Matthew(5:1 - 7:29, including introductory and concluding material) as being delivered on a mount on the north end of the Sea of Galilee, near Capernaum. The Sermon on the Mount lays out many of the core principles of Christianity. Another rendition of much of the same material may be found in the " Sermon on the Plain" in the Gospel of Luke(6:17 - 49, including introductory material).
During the later
history of Christianity, several figures became known for their sermons or a particularly significant sermon. Preachers of the early church include Peter(see especially Acts 2:14b - 36), Stephen(see Acts 7:1b - 53), Tertullian, John Chrysostom, Gregory Nazianzus. Sermons in this era were used to spread Christianity across Europeand Asia Minor. During the Middle Ages, sermons inspired the beginnings of new religious orders (eg, Saint Dominicand Francis of Assisi). Pope Urban IIbegan the First Crusadein November 1095 at the Council of Clermont, France, when he exhorted French knights to retake the Holy Landin Palestine.
In the Roman Catholic tradition, the art of preaching has developed through the theological field of
Many sermons have been written down, collected and published. Such sermons include
John Wesley's "53 Standard Sermons", John Chrysostom's "Homily on the Resurrection" (preached every Easter in Orthodox churches) and Gregory Nazianzus' homily "On the Theophany, or Birthday of Christ" (preached every Christmas in Orthodox churches). Martin Lutherbegan a tradition of publishing sermons (Hauspostille) on the Sunday lessons for the edification of readers. This tradition was continued by Chemnitz and Arndt and others into the following centuries - for example CH Spurgeon's stenographed sermons, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit [Spurgeon, C.H., "Spurgeon's Sermons", Baker 2003, ISBN 0801011132] .
Role in Protestantism
Reformationled to Protestantsermons, many of which defended the schism with the Roman Catholic Church and explained beliefs about scripture, theology and devotion. Since the distinctive doctrines of Protestantism held that salvationwas by faith alone, and convincing people to believe the Gospel and place trust in God for their salvation through Jesus Christ was the decisive step in salvation, in Protestantism the sermon and hymncame to replace the Eucharistas the central act of Christian worship. To rouse deeper faithin the churchgoers, rather than have them partake in a ritual, was the goal of Protestant worship conditioned by these beliefs.
In the 1700s and 1800s during the
Great Awakening, major sermons were made at revivals, which were especially popular in the United States. These sermons were noted for their "fire-and-brimstone" message, typified by Jonathan Edwards's famous " Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" speech. In these sermons the wrath of God was clearly one to be afraid of, although fear was not the message Edwards was trying to convey in his sermons, he was simply trying to tell the people that they could be forgiven for their sins.
There are a number of different types of preaching, that differ both by their subject matter and by their intended audience. and accordingly not every preacher is well-versed in each type. The types of preaching are:
* Topical preaching - concerned with a particular subject of current concern; [ [http://sermonlinks.com/Topical/Sermons/index.html topical sermons] ]
Biographicalpreaching - tracing the story of a particular biblical character through a number of parts of the Bible. [ [http://dmoz.org/Society/Religion_and_Spirituality/People/Old_Testament/ biographical preaching] ]
Evangelisticpreaching - seeking to convert the congregation or bring them back to their previous faith through a recounting of the Good News. [ [http://www.preachtheword.co.uk/gospel.html evangelistic sermons] ]
Expository preaching- exegesis, or preaching from a text and seeking to expound the text to the congregation. [ [http://www.sermonsfortoday.org/ expository sermons] ]
Redemptive-Historical Preaching- Preaching that takes into consideration the context of any given text within the broader history of salvation as recorded in the canon of the bible.
It is worth noting that sermons can be both written [ [http://www.reformedsermonarchives.com/ written sermons] ] and spoken out loud. [ [http://www.graceandtruth.org.uk/sermons.htm spoken sermons] ]
Sermons also differ on the amount of time and effort used to prepare them.
* Scripted preaching - preaching with a previous preparation, it can be with help of notes or a script, or rely on the memory of the preacher.
Extemporaneous preaching- preaching without overly detailed notes and sometimes without preparation. Usually a basic outline and scriptural references are listed as notes.
Impromptu preaching- preaching without previous preparation.
With the advent of recption theory, researchers also became aware that how how sermons are listened to affects their meaning as much as how they are delivered. The expectations of the congregation, their prior experience of listening to oral texts, their level of scriptural education, and the relative social positions - often reflected in the physical arrangement - of sermon-goers vis-a-vis the preacher are part of the meaning of the sermon.
List of preachers
Popular Sermon of the Medieval Friar
*"American Sermons: The Pilgrims to Martin Luther King Jr.", Michael Warner, ed. (New York: The Library of America, 1999) ISBN 1-883011-65-5
*Edwards, O. C., Jr. "A History of Preaching." Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2004. ISBN 0-687-03864-2
*Sullivan, Ceri, 'The Art of Listening in the Seventeenth Century', "Modern Philology" 104.1 (2006), pp. 34-71
*Willimon, William H. and Richard Lischer, eds. "Concise Encyclopedia of Preaching." Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 1995. ISBN 0-664-21942-X
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