Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Religious Rhetoric and the Radio: The Sermons of Rev. Dr. Oswald C.J. Hoffmann, International Lutheran Hour Speaker, 1955-1985
by McPeek, Samuel E., Ph.D., University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 2017, 199; 10286523
Abstract (Summary)

Rev. Dr. Oswald C.J. Hoffmann served as the speaker of The Lutheran Hour, an internationally broadcast religious radio program, from 1955 until 1988 and as Speaker-Emeritus from 1988 until his death in 2005. As a Lutheran pastor, Hoffmann brought with him almost twenty years of ministry experience as a parish pastor, a college professor, and the first public relations director of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS), as well as the skills of a gifted preacher. Throughout the three decades that Hoffmann served in this position, he was much more than a voice on the radio and his notoriety extended well beyond the structure of his own denomination; he was well known both nationally and internationally, meeting with and interviewing political leaders, business leaders, celebrities, and dignitaries worldwide. Although Hoffmann was a major religious figure and a popular preacher of the second half of the twentieth century, little scholarship has been conducted on his preaching. The question this dissertation will address is, how is Hoffmann’s preaching distinct amidst the many voices proclaiming the faith? There are two ways in which this question can be addressed: the first is theologically and the second is rhetorically. Theologically, this dissertation will argue that it was Hoffmann’s style of preaching as pastoral care, or Seelsorge (the term used by Luther), that made him an effective radio preacher and furthermore, his preaching exemplified and contributed to the overall tradition of Lutheran homiletics. Rhetorically, however, this dissertation will investigate how Hoffmann keeps his radio audience’s attention against the sonic field in which he preaches. In order to address this question, I will analyze Hoffmann’s sermons using the five canons of rhetoric: Invention, Arrangement, Style, Memory, and Delivery.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Dorwick, Keith
Commitee: Davie, William R., Ratliff, Clancy, Schmitt, David R.
School: University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Department: English
School Location: United States -- Louisiana
Source: DAI-A 79/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religion, Rhetoric, Mass communications
Keywords: Hoffmann, Oswald C.J., Homiletics, Lutheran, Radio, The Lutheran Hour
Publication Number: 10286523
ISBN: 978-0-355-52060-6
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