The Rev. Dr. Angela Dienhart Hancock serves as associate professor of homiletics and worship. She is an ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and has served as pastor to churches in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Hancock is the author of Karl Barth’s Emergency Homiletic, 1932-33: A Summons to Prophetic Witness at the Dawn of the Third Reich, a contextual interpretation of Swiss theologian Karl Barth’s lectures on preaching in the early 1930s, based on unpublished archival material.Her current research explores Karl Barth’s contribution to the ethics of deliberation in Christian communities and the relationship between political and theological rhetoric.Hancock continues to preach, teach, and lead worship in a variety of settings.
As any professor knows, the common misconception that “sabbatical” means “vacation” couldn’t be farther from the truth! As evidence, witness just one of the many scholarly projects the Rev. Dr. Angela Dienhart Hancock has worked toward during her current, 2016-17 sabbatical: This spring she takes center podium as one of four featured lecturers at the annual Karl Barth conference in the Netherlands.
“The theme for this year’s conference is ‘Irregular Theology—and the Sermon: Karl Barth’s Homiletical Method,’” notes Angela, who serves as associate professor of homiletics and worship at PTS. Already with one published book on Barth’s preaching—Karl Barth’s Emergency Homiletic 1932-1933: A Summons to Prophetic Witness at the Dawn of the Third Reich (Eerdmans, 2013)—Angela is an obvious choice to serve in one of the conference’s featured-speaker roles. And she drew on and expanded her research on the German Protestant church in the 1920s and 1930s in the paper she presented there.
“My lecture compared and contrasted Barth’s ‘emergency’ homiletic of 1932/33 with that of another ‘Word of God’ theologian from the period, University of Tübingen professor and popular preacher Karl Fezer,” she explains. “In spite of their shared conviction that preaching somehow bears witness to ‘the Word of God,’ the two scholars had very different reactions to the rise of National Socialism: Barth resisted it; Fezer embraced it. So in my paper I explore the theological reasons for this divergence, what we can learn from the contrast between Barth and Fezer, and the implications for faithful preaching in politically polarized contexts today.”
As a featured speaker, Angela stood in expert scholarly company at the “Karl-Barth-Tagung.” Her presentation followed that of Michael Beintker (emeritus professor of systematic theology, University of Münster), who spoke about Barth’s theological works of 1930-1933 in their context. After Angela’s talk, Rinse H. Reeling Brouwer (Miskotte/Breukelman Chair for Theological Hermeneutics of the Bible, Protestant Theological University, Amsterdam) explored the publications of “a Dutch kindred spirit of Barth’s”—K. H. Miscotte. Finally, Ciska Stark (assistant professor of liturgy and homiletics, Protestant Theological University, Amsterdam) focused on what Barth’s homiletical method can bring to the present day.
“Political and social crises are not limited to Karl Barth’s time and context,” Angela observes. “And his conviction that the wide horizon of God’s gracious way with humanity, as witnessed by the prophets and apostles, can call the ‘spirit of the times’ into question making his theology a vital resource for preachers today.”
Karl Barth’s Emergency Homiletic, 1932-33: A Summons to Prophetic Witness at the Dawn of the Third Reich (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishers, 2013).
“Blade’s Breadth and Chasm’s Depth: Karl Barth, Karl Fezer, and the ‘Geistproblem.’” Zeitschrift für dialektische Theologie, 34 no 1 (2018): 36-57.
“Texts in Quarantine: Karl Barth, Biblical Interpretation, and Imaginative Resistance.” Scottish Journal of Theology, Volume 71, Issue 1(February 2018): 1-15.
“The Prophetic Agency of Jesus Christ and the Task of Preaching,” in Edwin van Driel, ed., What is Jesus Doing? Divine Agency in the Life of the Church and the Ministry of the Pastor (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, forthcoming),
“Barth and Preaching,” in Paul Dafydd Jones and Paul Nimmo, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Karl Barth (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming).
“Training for a Serious Game: Theo-Political Deliberation as a Christian Practice,” in Marcus Höfner, ed., Theo-Politics? Conversing with Barth in Western and Asian Contexts (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, forthcoming).
“Populism, Patriotism, and the Preacher.” The Princeton Seminary Bulletin, Volume 34, New Series (2017), https://doi.org/10.3754/1937-8386.2017.34.04.