Text to Praxis: Hermeneutics and Homiletics in Dialogue by Abraham Kuruvilla

Book cover

Text to Praxis develops a hermeneutical basis for moving validly from Scripture to sermon with authority and relevance. Preachers of the Bible have always wished for a homiletic that is both faithful to the textual intention as well as fitting for the listening audience. That which is historical and distant (text) is sought, in preaching, to be made contemporary and near (praxis).

The concept of theology as a bridge between text and praxis has not been researched specifically or substantiated rigorously in the past. Abraham Kuruvilla seeks to do both, employing language philosophy, literary criticism, and a thorough understanding of “ordinary” language to lay the foundation for preaching a biblical pericope. Drawing from a variety of hermeneutical resources, Kuruvilla establishes the notion of “pericopal theology” as the appropriate intermediary between text and praxis. The issue of how this entity may be discerned from the text and how praxis may subsequently be arrived at forms the crux of the book. This novel approach, an alliance of hermeneutics and homiletics, lends validity to the theological movement from text to praxis and promises to be useful for any transaction of Scripture that is intended to culminate in application.


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This fusion of homiletics and hermeneutics is highly innovative, and represents an important and welcome alternative to the more usual ad hoc accounts of the passage from text to sermon, via an “application” which often appears arbitrary. It is argued persuasively that a set of rules about interpretative practice is entailed in the canonical genre of the scriptural text, as established and understood within its primary communal context. To “preach on a text” is to actualize those rules and so to fulfil the purpose for which the canonical text exists. … I believe it to be a significant and creative piece of work.”

Francis B. Watson
Professor and Kirby Laing Chair of New Testament Exegesis
King’s College, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland

All too often those who prepare for a teaching and preaching ministry learn the skills of exegesis but never learn how to transfer their knowledge of the text in such a way as to clearly and succinctly present it to a listening audience. As a result, there is confusion on just how the preached text has practical relevance. The preacher has failed to bridge the gap between the text and the present-day audience. Dr. Kuruvilla’s work does a masterful job in explaining how to go from Scripture to the sermon. His work would not only be helpful to a few interested individuals, rather, in my opinion, should be a required text in seminaries. Many scholars from the two disciplines, namely, the exegete and the homiletician, not that there is a need to bridge the aforementioned gap and have not found any work that fully accomplishes this goal. This work achieves that objective.”

Harold W. Hoehner
Distinguished Professor of New Testament Studies
Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, Texas

The movement from interpretation of a text to the formulation of a sermon on that text is without doubt a perennial problem, and a seemingly inexhaustible topic, especially for publications designed for the clergy or professors of preaching. Kuruvilla’s volume, however, stands out, I believe, within the collections of such books as an especially commendable resource for preachers, teachers of preaching, and anyone interested in the question of how to link biblical content with current issues…. I find this volume to be one of the best current treatments of a complicated but inescapable subject, and I strongly recommend it as a valuable addition to our discussion of the relationship between hermeneutics and homiletics.”

Robert Kysar
Professor of Preaching and New Testament Emeritus
Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

It is rare to meet a work designed for preachers that is hermeneutically aware, theologically relevant, literarily sensitive, and exceptionally relevant. Text to Praxis is such a treasure. It deserves a careful read, and, even more, careful contemplation. Anyone who seeks to move skillfully from the text to our world in preaching will do well to study this work and put it into praxis.”

Darrell L. Bock
Research Professor of New Testament Studies
Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, Texas

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