Empty admiration: Robert Lewis Dabney’s expository homiletic

St. John, Russel Brian (2018) Empty admiration: Robert Lewis Dabney’s expository homiletic. PhD thesis, Middlesex University / London School of Theology. [Thesis]

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Russell St. John, “Empty Admiration: Robert Lewis Dabney’s Expository Homiletic,” Doctor of Philosophy, Middlesex University/London School of Theology, 2018.
This thesis argues that while American homiletician Robert Lewis Dabney (1820-1898) crafted a robust expository homiletical theory, his weak classroom pedagogy and failure personally to practice expository preaching undermined his theory, and Dabney predominantly equipped and influenced his seminary students to preach the very topical sermons that his expository theory abjured.

Chapter 1 provides a biographical sketch, which acquaints the reader with Dabney’s life and work, demonstrating his historical and homiletical significance.

Chapter 2 critiques prior evaluations of Dabney’s homiletic and preaching ministry, demonstrating the need for research into his classroom pedagogy and distinct structure for expository sermons. It also identifies an errant interpretation of Dabney’s homiletical legacy, which Chapter 6 corrects.

Chapter 3 describes Dabney’s robust expository theory and identifies his distinct structure for expository sermons. It thereby exposes a caveat by which Dabney and his students preached topical sermons upon single verses or clauses of text—a practice that Dabney, in theory, forbade.

Chapter 4 analyzes Dabney’s classroom pedagogy by examining sermon manuscripts that Dabney labeled “Exercises,” which offered replicable sermon templates to his students. By means of these exercises, Dabney primarily equipped his students to preach topical sermons on isolated verses of Scripture rather than the expository sermons that his theory admired.

Chapter 5 chronicles and quantifies Dabney’s failure to practice expository preaching, demonstrating that he predominantly preached topical sermons on isolated verses of Scripture, thereby highlighting his infidelity to his homiletical theory, while also showing that Dabney’s stance toward the Scripture was not that of a herald as his theory claimed, but rather a craftsman.

Chapter 6 evaluates sermons of students whom Dabney trained to preach, demonstrating that Dabney influenced the preaching of his students to resemble his own, and they consistently replicated his classroom pedagogy and personal example rather than his expository theory.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > London School of Theology
Item ID: 26461
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2019 10:06
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 19:30
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/26461

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