Original Research - Special Collection: Engaging Schleiermacher today: South African perspectives

Schleiermacher as preacher: A contemporary South African perspective

Martin Laubscher
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 4 | a5555 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i4.5555 | © 2019 Martin Laubscher | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 May 2019 | Published: 30 October 2019

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Martin Laubscher, Department of Practical and Missional Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

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South African homiletics is in a crisis and it has – contrary to our expectation – nothing to do with either the presence or the influence of the great 19th-century theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher. In fact, this article shows that his absence stretches even deeper and wider than is often assumed. What makes this state in scholarship even more strange and remarkable is that the practice of preaching played an immense and crucial role in Schleiermacher’s own life and theology. By coming to know how this famous theologian as a preacher embodied the blending of different voices – preacher, church, Scripture and the Triune God – into the mystery of the one living voice of the gospel that speaks to us in the preaching event, this article tries to show why it is necessary and relevant to engage with Schleiermacher as a preacher who primarily thought about himself as a servant of the Word. Reading one of his sermons on sermons may stimulate theological thought beyond the borders and confinements of discipline and context.


Schleiermacher; Theology; Preaching; Homiletics; South Africa


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