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Preaching and the Theological Imagination

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Edited By Zachary Guiliano and Cameron Partridge

In an era in which The Episcopal Church and the Church of England have become increasingly alarmed about numerical decline, Christian proclamation has become more important than ever. To fully meet this challenge, Anglicans must reclaim a vocation to preach the good news with both deep theological grounding and imaginative dynamism. Crucial to this process is a sustained engagement with deepening the theological imagination of the whole Christian community, through renewed practices of, and approaches to, preaching, study, and spiritual development.
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7. “Lord, how can man preach thy eternall word?”: Preaching and the Metaphysical Lyric

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7. “Lord, how can man preach thy eternall word?” Preaching and the Metaphysical Lyric

Simon Jackson

IN 1668, David Lloyd published a biographical sketch of the poet and priest Richard Crashaw (c.1613–1649) in his Memoires of the lives, actions, sufferings and deaths of those noble, reverend, and excellent personages that suffered by death, sequestration, decimation, or otherwise, for the protestant religion. Lloyd’s sketch is based extensively on the brief biography attributed to Crashaw’s friend Joseph Beaumont; but he not only echoes Beaumont, he amplifies him also, adding to Crashaw’s list of skills and abilities. Beaumont had noted, for instance, the poet’s linguistic skills—his “excellen[ce] in five Languages (besides his Mother tongue),” his knowledge of “the richest treasures of the best Greeke and Latine Poets,” and of course his literary skills as a poet. Lloyd translates these skills into the pulpit: having noted that the poet came from good preaching stock,1 his biographer goes on to describe how,

Philosophy came as plausibly from him as his Speeches or Sermons; those thronged Sermons on each Sunday and Holiday, that ravished more like Poems...scattering not so much Sentences [as] Extasies, his soul brea[t]hing in each word.

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