Off Big Ideas?


‘Big idea’ in the crosshairs?

Dr. Abe Kuruvilla has been featured on this site before, explaining his paradigm-shifting hermeneutic in which he advocates for an alternative to the oft unchallenged christocentric approach to biblical interpretation for preaching.

Now he’s set his sights on another homiletical mainstay: The “big idea.” Follow this link to Kuruvilla’s website and the article in its entirety. But here’s the article’s abstract to whet your appetite:

This essay traces the history and development of the “Big Idea” in preaching and reviews its methodology—the distilling of a text of Scripture and the preaching of that distillate. Both operations are found wanting in hermeneutical rigor; the resulting detrimental ramifica- tions are addressed. A fresh look at preaching then describes this central mode of Christian communication as a novel form of text-based address unknown to classical rhetoricians, calls for attending to authorial doings with texts (discerning the theology of pericopes), and considers textual interpretation as not only a science but also an art, texts being both discursive (in their sayings) and non-discursive (in their doings). Such a conception of texts entails that preaching be conceived more as demonstration than as argumentation. A narrow and circumscribed role for text reductions is also offered.