James Henry Harris introduces interpretation theory and continental philosophy as a resource for preachers to resist and overcome interpretive oppression, and lays out a new theory of scriptural interpretation. He analyzes philosopher Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutics as a helpful guide for modern preachers, and incorporates in his analysis of the lived experience of the Black church. Harris highlights the preaching of several 19th and 20th century Black women, including Jarena Lee, Maria Stewart, and Mary Evans.
Beyond the Tyranny of the Text develops a five-part method for preaching that stretches from preparation to proclamation, and demonstrates how this method for interpretational creativity emerges from fidelity to the text. Harris demonstrates his method with sermonic exegesis of the Book of Jonah. With this new process of reading, rereading, un-reading, writing, and un-writing the text, the author offers wisdom and tools for reflection and illumination.
At its core, Beyond the Tyranny of the Text challenges the field of homiletics and all preachers to un-write like Jesus Christ: to get in front of the text, to understand preparation and preaching as a creative and transformative enterprise.
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About the Author
James Henry Harris is the Distinguished Professor and Chair of Homiletics and Practical Theology and Research Scholar in Religion at the School of Theology, Virginia Union University and pastor of Second Baptist Church (West End), both in Richmond, VA. He has a passion for teaching, preaching, and helping the poor and the oppressed.
He earned the Master of Arts in philosophical theology from the University of Virginia, the Master of Arts in English and African-American Literature from Virginia Commonwealth University, and the Master of Arts in philosophy from Old Dominion University where he also received the Ph.D. in Urban-Studies. He earned the Doctor of Ministry degree in Preaching and African-American Church Studies from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, OH as a Samuel DeWitt Proctor/Charles Booth Fellow.
Harris has taught preaching at the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education, the American Baptist Churches of the South, and for local churches and pastors. He has been a visiting professor of Homiletics at Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ, Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN, and currently teaches in the ACTS Doctor of Ministry in Preaching Program at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, IL.