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In this book, based on her 2003 Beecher Lectures, Ellen Davis argues and demonstrates that the activities of biblical interpretation and preaching are essentially related as arts and, in fact, as the arts most fundamental to the life of the church. Because preaching is an art and not a method, the skills it requires are best learned by sympathy, not in abstraction. In these essays, therefore, as she discusses such important issues as the urgent and speaking presence of the Old Testament for preaching, preaching the psalms and welcoming them as poetry, and Christological preaching of the Old Testament, she also presents a convocation of preaching voices form across centuries--Deitrich Bonhoffer, John Donne, Lancelot Andrewes, exploring how each dealt with problems and puzzles the text presents and learning from them the basic principles of biblical interpretation and communication of the gospel message found in both Testaments. She asks in the process, What can ordinary preachers learn from these masters of the art? Davis includes some of her own sermons as contemporary examples.
Ellen Davis is concerned by what she calls a "shallow reading" of Scripture--a reading of what we think we already know instead of an attempt to dig deeper for new insights and revelations. Wondrous Depth is a collection of essays in which Davis argues for a more engaged reading of Scripture that opens the reader up to new knowledge and understanding. Davis also demonstrates that preaching and biblical interpretation are essentially related to one another in that it is essential for preachers to engage in thorough reading and interpretation of Scripture from the pulpit and to encourage their congregations to read the Bible with depth and sensitivity as well.
Ellen F. Davis is Amos Ragan Kearns Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Duke University Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. She is the author of Who Are You, My Daughter? Reading Ruth Through Image and Text; Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs and Getting Involved with God; and Imagination Shaped.