In the Hebrew language WORD is "davar". When we think of the WORD of God we usually think of scripture. I posted a bunch last summer on kind of a new take on Barth's idea of the Word as Jesus, and that's exactly what the scripture says in John 1 drawing upon the Greek word Logos, meaning WORD. In Hebrew, "Davar" is related to the action of God. When we read in the Hebrew Bible that the "Word of God spoke" or "descended" it has to do with an actual action of God in time and space. After the New Testament, Greek thought over took our ancient Hebrew roots as a church. When the early church read the Greek word "Logos", they had the word "Davar" in their minds too. They understood both the Greek and Hebrew meaning of "The Word". But as time went on there was a shift to the Greek meaning of logos, which is more static and doctrinal, more philosophical and mind oriented. Some strands of Christianity in the early centuries remained with the more Hebrew understanding of the Word of God, "Davar". From that point on two traditions carry through history, a dynamic happening of God and the more logical reflective learned tradition of wisdom. Both are good, but I think one is more captivating in our current postmodern setting.
According to my Homiletics professor 2 kinds of preaching developed out of these two traditions. The first and dominant was out of the Logos tradition of thought, which is very learned, high rhetoric. This preaching style logically lays out doctrine in church preaching. These churches built cathedrals and bought into the enlightenment. It was the epitome of scholasticism and developed a reasonable account of Christianity.
Davar developed into more of an oral folk tradition of preaching. The Dabar way of preaching is more narrative. It uses fables and stories, parables and mystical truth. You can see echo's of "Davar" preaching in monasticism and romanticism. With "davar" tradition feelings as well as actions are important.
As I looked over my old notes from Homilets I realized how much I'm attracted to the ancient notion of "Davar". I also realized how connected this is to the postmodern Christian understanding of truth that BJ talked about last week in worship. Read his most recent post, it's deep! I am much more interested in a mystical spirituality that connects me with the person of Jesus Christ than I am a spirituality that is built upon a foundation of doctrinal beliefs. Sure doctrine is important, but doctrine is not my Savior. It seems the "Davar" way of preaching will guide people into knowing Jesus, his love and the reality of his being.
What do you think? Is this stuff on target? It's really not my idea, my feelings won't be hurt it you think it's wacked!