The Scandal of the Gospel (Paper)

Preaching and the Grotesque

  • 9780664266202
  • 5.5 x 8.5
  • 120
  • 37.50
  • Paper
  • 0664266207
  • 10/25/2021
  • 7-10 days processing
$ 25.00


Through its shocking incongruities and transgressive forms, the grotesque offers an intriguing lens for exploring the scandal of the gospel and the challenges of Christian preaching. Drawing on diverse sources—from Swedish crime fiction and contemporary poetry to James Cone, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Pussy Riot—this book will examine the theological, homiletical, and social implications of a grotesque gospel for contemporary preachers. The book focuses on three aspects of preaching and the grotesque: (1) the ways in which a grotesque gospel unsettles the preacher and challenges the “false patterns” that often shape Christian preaching; (2) the importance and challenges of resisting the weaponized grotesque, which dehumanizes people and furthers the power of dominant groups; (3) the incarnate Word as the carnivalesque, grotesque body of Jesus, which calls the church to become the porous and inclusive body of Christ. The Scandal of the Gospel is the written adaptation of Yale Divinity School’s Beecher Lectures, given by Charles Campbell in 2018. The last chapter, “Preaching and the Environmental Grotesque,” is a new addition.

Product Excerpts and Related Resources


“Charles Campbell is one of the most original thinkers in the field of preaching. He always advances our thought by first knocking it off balance, and this book is no exception. Here he allows the shadowy light of the grotesque to fall across the pulpit, exposing the all-too-shiny empty hopes, the all-too-tidy resolutions, and all-too-easy faux-resurrections of much of today’s preaching. Campbell guides us toward a preaching that is more honest, more alert, more porous to the wild interactions of such forces as poetry, raw experience, unresolved plots, punk protests, and jazz. This is an unforgettable book.”—Thomas G. Long, Bandy Professor Emeritus of Preaching, Candler School of Theology

“Charles Campbell steers us away from some of the cherished formulas that have grounded Christian preaching, and he urges us to embrace an edgier, more grotesque approach. He unveils a pathbreaking vision of preaching that reckons with the horrors of the current moment and yet remains faithful to the gospel. This book crackles with electricity and will resonate with preachers, poets, and other truthtellers. A new era in homiletics has begun.”—Donyelle C. McCray, Associate Professor of Homiletics, Yale Divinity School

“I don’t have words to express how extraordinary I believe this book is. It cracks the teaching of preaching wide open. It’s an exercise in homiletical imagination, and it will require of us pedagogical acts of imagination that go way beyond anything we may have tried or thought appropriate. Faithful preaching of a grotesque gospel requires careful description of complex human lives—description of lives we believe God has entered, not tidy resolutions or neat homiletical patterns.

"These essays are a first, not the final, word on preaching and the grotesque. They are an invitation to look with new eyes upon the cross, to consider again the ways its strange aesthetic can transform us and our world." – Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology

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