Joseph A. Sittler (1904–1987) was one of the most influential theologians of the twentieth century, distinguished for his pioneering work in ecology and for his preeminence as a preacher. He gave both the Beecher Lectures at Yale and the Noble Lectures at Harvard. As the preacher's theologian, Sittler approached the interpretation of Scripture with a clear understanding of current critical scholarship, but also in the freedom of the gospel at the center of Scripture and with the humility of a theologian of the cross. In following the trajectory of the text into the preaching situation he gave a lively, timeless, and eloquent expression to the fact that the interpretation of texts is in the service of proclamation.
This collection of readings from Sittler's rich legacy contains a great many presentations and sermons that have never before appeared in print. Theologically serious preaching, close attention to language, engagement with the best of sacred and secular culture, and a deep respect for the text, all characteristics of Sittler's work, are the sort of features that continue to edify. They remain as benchmarks for good preaching even as styles and contexts evolve.