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|Title: ||Open-air preaching as radical street performance|
|Authors: ||Blythe, Stuart McLeod|
|Supervisor(s): ||Mitchell, Jolyon|
|Issue Date: ||26-Nov-2009|
|Publisher: ||The University of Edinburgh|
|Abstract: ||In this thesis I examine the ways in which analysing open-air preaching as ‘radical
street performance’ can inform our understanding of this expression of Christian
preaching. Open-air preaching is commonly associated with negative stereotypes.
Most contemporary homiletical writers also largely neglect considering this practice.
Through my research, I posit radical street performance as a constructive and
illuminating way to understand and analyse open-air preaching.
In chapter 1, I introduce the practice of open-air preaching in relation to relevant
homiletical literature. In so doing, I challenge the commonly held stereotypes about
open-air preaching. I do so with reference to the long and diverse nature of the
practice. In chapter 2, I critically analyse existing ‘preaching as performance’
literature. I first demonstrate the ways in which these authors show the suitability of
performance as a concept for understanding preaching. I then go on to consider the
limitations of their understandings of preaching as performance for exploring open-air
preaching in performance terms. I do this to establish the immediate theoretical
context for my own research. In chapter 3, I develop this argument further drawing
on the work of performance theorists Jan Cohen-Cruz and Baz Kershaw. I argue
accordingly, that radical street performance is a valuable way of understanding and
analysing open-air preaching as performance.
On the basis of these theoretical and methodological foundations, in chapters 4-6, I
explore three case studies of open-air preaching according to this analytical
approach. In chapter 4, I focus on the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century
evangelical preaching of James Haldane (1768-1851), whose open-air preaching was
directly related to his move to congregational Independency. In chapter 5, I explore
the early to mid twentieth century open-air preaching of George MacLeod (1895-
1991), founder of the Iona Community. In chapter 6, I analyse the open-air preaching
of OAC Ministries GB, a contemporary organisation that seeks to promote and
practice open-air preaching in a creative way. The outcomes of the original research in chapters 4, 5, and 6 demonstrate the
applicability and versatility of radical street performance as a way of understanding
and analysing open-air preaching in performance terms. It also provides original
understandings of the dynamics of each example of open-air preaching examined,
highlighting differences and similarities between them.
In chapter 7, I draw together by way of conclusions, the theoretical, theological, and
practical outcomes of the research for the practice of open-air preaching and the
consequent implications for in-church preaching. In this way I present open-air
preaching as a minority but significant practice of incarnational witness which exists
in a tensive relationship with the dominant practice of in-church preaching.|
|Appears in Collections:||Divinity thesis and dissertation collection|
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