Hör, ni som har öron: En studie av samtalets funktion för nutida predikan
Sammanfattning: The purpose of this practical theological master’s thesis is to examine conversation as part of sermon preparation in present day preaching in the Lutheran Church of Sweden. This study combines studies of homiletical literature with qualitative empirical methods, stating that theory and practice informs one another. Through participant observation in Bible study groups and the following Sunday’s service, an empirical material consisting of 9 sermons and their 9 precedent conversations was gathered and compared. This study is divided into three parts. The first part present an overview of the homiletical reflection in CoS for the past 40 years. Since the 1970’s Swedish homiletical literature has been heavily influenced by New homiletics. Sermons ought to be inductive, meaning that the preacher should make the listeners’ questions and experiences the starting point of the sermon, which makes conversation a vital part of the sermon preparation. Conversation is also a paragon for how the sermon is to be conducted. A sermon should be carried out as genuine dialogue: reciprocal, mutual, creating relationships. The preacher’s authority comes from a dialogical approach and being a good listener. The overview also provides philosophical background to this homiletic ideal in the 20th century. Alongside a major shift in the perception of authority as something best avoided, the linguistic turn, the shift from epistemological to existential hermeneutics and the corresponding shift in communication theory all contributes to form a homiletical ideal. The second part of the thesis examines the empirical material. How is this theory put into practice? The empirical material was searched and coded for corresponding topics, topics of conversation that were also used in the sermons. The results showed a very high correspondence between topics in group discussion and sermon. Through examining by whom and how these corresponding topics were introduced into the conversation, seven forms of cooperation was identified: listening, questioning, interpreting, requesting, testing, searching and teaching. The first four originated with participants, the other three with preachers. Turning to the unutilized topics, a vast majority were topics that participants had introduced into the conversation. Although some of the participant’s questions and requests made their way into the sermon, in fact only a third did: the questions and requests made in connection with a topic the preacher had introduced into the conversation. In almost all groups participants mention pastoral problems. These pastoral problems were never addressed in the sermons. I also found that in cases when there are multiple interpretations of the Bible text in the group the preacher always chooses his or her own interpretation. The third and last part of the thesis discusses how to account for this discrepancy between theory and practice. Were the preachers failing or could they have been furthering something as well? On basis of a discussion of communication theory and concepts of authority, this thesis argues that there are good philosophical, theological and empirical reasons to propose an additional homiletical approach.
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