Monday, November 17, 2008

E.C. Dargan—Teacher and Historian of Preaching

Today is the birthday of Edwin Charles Dargan, born in Darlington County, South Carolina in 1852. Dargan may not be a familiar name to you, but less than a hundred years ago he was president of the Southern Baptist Convention (1911-1913). His other roles were pastor, homiletics professor, author, and editor.

Dargan was educated at Furman University in Greenville, SC and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. According to Southern's website Dargan possessed "an uncommon memory.... Once, when ill to the point of hallucination, he sporadically shouted out entire chapters of the Bible in Hebrew. The illness faded, but Dargan retained his memory and became valedictorian of his class." After pastoring several churches Dargan received an invitation from Southern to join the faculty as a professor of homiletics and pastoral theology.

Dargan edited the second edition of John A. Broadus' book, On the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons. But his magnum opus was the two-volume A History of Preaching. This mostly biographical work was projected to be three volumes, but Dargan died before completing the third. It was finished much later by Ralph Turnbull, covering the history of preaching to 1950. According to Warren Wiersbe, "A History of Preaching, volume 3, is the one volume you need to supply information about preaching and preachers in the recent past. If you add Dargan's two volumes, you have a dependable encyclopedia of preaching" (Walking with the Giants, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1976, p. 219).

Contents of A History of Preaching by E.C. Dargan (from the Monergism website):
Volume 1 Contents

PERIOD I - AD 70 - 430
Chap. 1 - Preaching during the First Three Centuries
Chap. 2 - The Culmination of Ancient Preaching in the Fourth Century

PERIOD II - 430 - 1095
Chap. 3 - The Decline of Preaching in the Fifth and Sixth Centuries
Chap. 4 - The Low Estate of Preaching in the Seventh and Eight Centuries
Chap. 5 - Voices in the Night, or Preaching during the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Centuries

PERIOD III - 1095 - 1361
Chap. 6 - Heralds of the Dawn of the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries
Chap. 7 - The Culmination of the Mediaeval Preaching in the Thirteenth Century
Chap. 8 - Decline and Mysticism in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries

PERIOD IV - 1361 - 1572
Chap. 9 - The Renaissance, and Preaching in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries
Chap. 10 - Preachers of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries
Chap. 11 - The Reformation, and Preaching in the Sixteenth Century
Chap. 12 - Preachers of the Reformation in Germany and German Switzerland
Chap. 13 - Preachers of the Reformation in France and other European Countries
Chap. 14 - Preachers of the Reformation in England and Scotland
Chap. 15 - Roman Catholic Preaching and Preachers in the Sixteenth Century
Chap. 16 - Preaching at the Threshold of the Modern World


Volume 2 Contents

Chap. 1 - Preaching In Europe at the End of the Sixteenth Century
Chap. 2 - Preaching in Southern Europe During the Seventeenth Century
Chap. 3 - Seventeenth Century Preaching in Germany and Northern Europe
Chap. 4 - The Classic Age of the French Pulpit
Chap. 5 - The Classic Age of the British Pulpit

Chap. 6 - General View of the Eighteenth Century. Catholic Preaching in Southern Europe
Chap. 7 - German Preaching in the Eighteenth Century
Chap. 8 - French Preaching in the Eighteenth Century
Chap. 9 - Dutch and Scandinavian Preaching in the Eighteenth Century
Chap. 10 - British Preaching in the Eighteenth Century

Chap. 11 - Preaching in the Nineteenth Century. The Pulpit of Southern Europe
Chap. 12 - The German Pulpit of the Nineteenth Century
Chap. 13 - The Dutch and Scandinavian Pulpits of the Nineteenth Century
Chap. 14 - The French Pulpit of the Nineteenth Century
Chap. 15 - The British Pulpit of the Nineteenth Century
1) The First Third of the Century, 1801-1833
2) The Middle Period of the Century, 1833-1868
3) The Closing Years of the Century, 1868-1900


You can read Volume 2 online at Google Books.

What good histories of preaching would you recommend? Or what reasons would you give for even studying preachers from a long time ago? Share your thoughts in the comments.