Peter Gomes On Language
Peter Gomes is an American Baptist minister who has served in The Memorial Church at Harvard University since 1970. Gomes is also the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and is the Pusey Minister in The Memorial Church. Gomes is commonly regarded as one of the most distinguished preachers in America. He was named Clergy of the Year in 1998 by Religion in American Life and offered prayers in the inaugurations of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.
Educated at Bates College and the Harvard Divinity School, Revered Gomes alsoholds thirty-six honorary degrees. He is the author of numerous books on the Bible, including the national best-sellers TheGood Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart and Sermons:Biblical Wisdom for Daily Living.
Gomes: I think I’m a very literate preacher. I like language. I love words, and I like to make words dance and do things. And I like to cause people to think about how these words are contributing to these ideas, and for words to dance in their own heads. So in that sense, I . . . it’s an odd description, but I think I’m a “wordy” preacher. Words are very important to me. The right word at the right time, fitly spoken, in my view is the most powerful engine on earth. So I take very great care with the words and the language I use, and how I put words together. And I think it’s no accident that one of the great Greek words, “logos”, means “word”. And Jesus is often described as “the Word” – the Word incarnate. I’m an incarnational preacher. I try to bring words, ideas and concepts to life. And that’s, for me, the glory of language, the glory of rhetoric.
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