In reviewing David Buttrick’s new book, Homiletic: Moves and Structures, Associate Editor R. Albert Mohler echoed publisher Fortress Press in calling it “the most substantial work on the subject since the nineteenth century.”
Commendations like that lead to our recognition of this significant volume as Preaching’s 1987 Book of the Year.
A number of quality books in the field of homiletics were published in 1987, but Buttrick’s magnum opus stands in a unique place among the year’s finest; indeed, it will likely rank among the most important publications on preaching published in this decade.
Some comments from the original review, published in the September-October 1987 issue of Preaching:
Homiletic is not a lighthearted primer for preachers; it is a serious and occasionally ponderous work intended for homileticians, theologians, and those preachers most serious about the preaching task.
Buttrick identifies a “homiletical circle” in which anyone who would speak of preaching must operate: “You cannot talk of sermon design without some glimmer of what sermons are made of, and you cannot comprehend the internal parts of a sermon without a grasp of sermon design …”
Thus, the two parts of the book: “Moves,” which deals with the internal components of the sermons, and “Structures,” which concerns the structural theory of the preaching task.
The emergence of Homiletic must be greeted with excitement and gratitude. The two recent volumes by Cox and Craddock will probably find their way into most introductory courses in preaching at the graduate level.
Homiletic is another animal altogether. It never gets to a consideration of delivery, worship, or other matters often found in major works on preaching. On the matters it covers, however, Homiletic is the most encyclopedic work in the modern period.
Preachers deadly serious about the challenge of effective preaching will find their way into its pages — prolix and profound as they are — and reap the rewards of serious interaction with the model of a master sermon craftsman.

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