Homiletical Theology Project

HTP is my research project at Boston University School of Theology.  The research is concerned with making an alternative space for doing what I call homiletical theology.   HTP encourages exploring the many places where homiletics deals theologically with culture, context, tradition, and sermonic language.

Academy of Homiletics

From 2013-16, HTP formed a four-year consultation at the Academy of Homiletics to map and promote further research in homiletical theology.  You can see some of our original research questions that we used to reinvigorate the conversation that is homiletical theology.  The result of our work is four volumes that unpack elements of homiletical theology.  Vols. 1 and 2 (Homiletical Theology:  Preaching as Doing Theology and Homiletical Theology in Action:  The Unfinished Theological Task of Preaching) seek to identify the many different ways that homiletical theology is understood and practiced in the field.  They tend to be descriptive of the many ways homileticians and practitioners understand several different theological dimensions of their work.  In Vols. 3 and 4, the consultation members’ chapters focus in on a more programmatic way of thinking about homiletical theology.  Theologies of the Gospel in Context:  The Crux of Homiletical Theology (Cascade, 2017) argues that a theology of the gospel in context is the central task of homiletical theology.  While contributors like Debra Mumford, Yohan Go, Joni Sancken and myself make a case for a variety of such theologies, they all place “the gospel in context” at the center of their homiletical-theological work.  In the final volume, Toward a Homiletical Theology of Promise (Cascade, 2018), contributors like Kenyatta Gilbert, Ruthanna Hooke, and Paul Wilson offer their own very particular visions about “promise in context” as a unique gospel starting point for understanding our work as homiletical theologians.  From first to last, homiletical theology is understood as a pluralistic and provisional understanding of how to name gospel in both the practice and theories of preaching.

Since 2018, the work continues in new forms. The Homiletical Theology Project has furthered research through the development of three colloquia, one of which was funded through a grant.

The first of these was a year-long project on homiletical pedagogy and the forming of homiletical theologians in the classroom.  With thanks to the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, we secured grant funding to hold an extended colloquium on intercultural communication theory and homiletical-theological pedagogy.  Four of us published articles on the topic:  Amy McLaughlin-Sheasby, Jared Alcántara, Sarah Travis, and yours truly.  Our work was published in the journal Homiletic in a recent issue that you can find here.

Our most recent colloquium sought to address the problem of Christian preaching of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible.  The fruits of our labors will be appearing in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Homiletics.  The work consists of articles and responses by Carolyn Sharp, Amy McLaughlin-Sheasby, Alexander Deeg, Yolanda Norton, David Stark, and myself.

The third colloquium is only now gearing up. Scholars Eunjoo Mary Kim, James Harris, Carolyn Helsel, and Scott Donahue-Martens will join me in writing on the following topic:  “Race, Preaching, and Ricoeur.”  The colloquium will meet at the 2022 Louisville session of the Academy of Homiletics and will look forward to publishing its work in late 2024.


CASCADE_TemplateThe edited volume Homiletical Theology:  Preaching as Doing Theology is the first in a four-volume series with Cascade, The Promise of Homiletical Theology.


Click the cover image to the left to learn more.



Jacobsen2 (2)The edited volume Homiletical Theology in Action: The Unfinished Theological Tasks of Preaching is the second in the series.


Available from Cascade Books.



Jacobsen2 (2)The edited volume Theologies of the Gospel in Context: The Crux of Homiletical Theology is the third in the series.


Available from Cascade Books.




The edited volume Toward a Homiletical Theology of Promise is the fourth in the series.


Available from Cascade Books.



David Schnasa Jacobsen, Ph.D.

Bishops Scholar in Homiletics and Preaching
Director, The Homiletical Theology Project
Homiletics PhD Concentration (Practical Theology)
Boston University School of Theology