From the beginning of the Christian Church, singing and preaching have served as major tools of communication. In fact, they remain the most utilized methods of articulating and explicating personal and communal theologies across the diverse and expansive expressions of Christianity.
From the life, ministry, and legacy of Jesus Christ through the teachings of the Apostle Paul, the roles and functions of singing and preaching are well known but not well studied as a unit. From the foundational writings of the early Church Fathers through the various theses of the reformers, the acts of singing and preaching have been studied and even debated separately, but rarely conjointly.
This article utilizes the disciplines of musicology, the study of the composition and delivery of music, and homiletics, the study of the composition and delivery of a sermon, to offer insight into why it is imperative to study singing and preaching together, in addition to studying them separately. In order to effectively use the two aforementioned disciplines to guide analysis, this paper offers the Black Christian experience as a case study in order to draw perspectives from the longstanding traditions of gospel singing and “Black preaching.” Within the Black Christian experience, singing and preaching not only serve as independent articulations of theology and faith, but also quite often work in tandem as the homilist, or preacher, sings the sermon.
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Price, Emmett G. III
"Singing the Sermon: Where Musicology Meets Homiletics,"
Yale Journal of Music & Religion:
2, Article 5.
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