(PUBViking)The newest volume in the legendary Library of America series, which provides definitive critical texts of major literary works. These 58 sermons (both famous and unknown) from Puritan New England to the civil rights era are remarkable specimens of the homiletic art. Preachers, take note! 950 pages, hardcover.
Sermons in the 20th century continued to wrestle with fundamental spiritual and civic concerns. The works collected here reveal an astonishing range: from a rousing homily on charity by the popular evangelist Billy Sunday to a moving discourse on interfaith cooperation by Abraham Joshua Heschel ("God is an outcry wrung from heart and mind ... It can only be uttered in astonishment"). Harry Emerson Fosdick's controversial "Shall the Fundamentalists Win?" has a uncompromising riposte from John Gresham Machen, who laid the groundwork for modern fundamentalism. Paul Tillich and Reinhold Niebuhr explore the human condition in the modern world. John Courtney Murray and televangelist Fulton Sheen show two sides of American Catholic eloquence. The powerful C. Lovelace and C. L. Franklin hint at the achievement of the 20th century African-American sermon, which attains a new breadth of influence in the inspiring oratory of Martin Luther King, Jr.
American Sermons contains detailed historical and biographical notes on the sermons, and an essay on the texts.
Michael Warner is professor of English at Rutgers University. His most recent works include American Sermons: The Pilgrims to Martin Luther King, and his essays and journalism have appeared in the Village Voice, the Nation, and other magazines.
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