Fortress Press

Viva Vox: Rediscovering the Sacramentality of the Word through the Annunciation

Viva Vox

Rediscovering the Sacramentality of the Word through the Annunciation

Joshua D. Genig (Author)


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In failing to take the sacramentality of the word of God seriously, the preaching of the church has suffered negative consequences. As a result, preaching is often, at best, a form of instruction; at worst, it is an incantation of sorts rather than an integral part of deepening our relationship with Christ by functioning sacramentally to bring about divine participation with Jesus’ corporeal humanity in his living word. To recover this sacramental reality, this volume argues that one should consider the annunciation to Mary where, with the sermon of Gabriel, the corporeal Christ took up residence in the flesh of his hearer and delivered to her precisely what was contained within his own flesh: the fullness of the Godhead (Col. 2:9). When understood as a biblical paradigm for the church, it becomes clear that what happened to Mary can, indeed, happen to Christians of the present day. Proclamation, thus, delivers the Christ to us.
  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781451477924
  • eBook ISBN 9781451494259
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 242
  • Emerging Scholars category Theology
  • Publication Date March 1, 2015


“Preaching is much more than we often expect or experience it to be. In this book, Joshua Genig helps us to see its central role in discipleship and in being the church through its ability to transform us through participation with Jesus.”
—David Wilkinson
St John’s College, Durham University

“In this incisive and deeply researched work, Joshua Genig identifies a perennial trouble that has plagued nearly every ecclesial communion, particularly a de-sacramentalizing of the word of God and the liturgical act of preaching. Furthermore, his brilliant use of the annunciation to Mary as the paradigmatic answer to such a trouble is both ingenious and timely, especially in an ecumenical perspective. This work is an important contribution for those engaged in sacramental theology, liturgical theology, Mariology, and the integration of all into an insightful pastoral theology of preaching.”
François Rossier, SM
Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute
University of Dayton

“In this remarkable book, Joshua D. Genig brings together the fields of Mariology, spirituality, and homiletics. He examines how Mary’s reception of God’s word at the annunciation (Luke 1:26–36) provides a ‘sacramental’ model for how the faithful should receive God’s word from dynamic preaching. Drawing upon sound biblical exegesis, the church fathers, and Christian theologians—Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed—the author shows how the word of God must be living, breathing, and active in the lives of the faithful, just as the Word was in Mary.”
Robert L. Fastiggi
Sacred Heart Major Seminary
“At a time when moral and instructional sermons dominate our churches, the contents of this book are likely to provide a profound challenge to Protestant and Catholic preachers alike. On Genig’s view, both expect far too little of what God can achieve through them: Catholics still largely confine God’s action to material symbols such as bread and wine, while Protestants think of words as divine address rather than mediated, real, personal engagement. Here instead we are invited to take the angel’s words to Mary at the annunciation as our model, where the address affected real change in Mary, with God now dwelling within her. So likewise, Genig argues, as Christians we too should expect a real sacramental transformation of ourselves as much through preaching as through those symbols traditionally so labeled. That way, as this learned and well-argued book so amply demonstrates, we will recover a wider vision of the role of the sermon, which Luther shared with the earlier patristic tradition.”
David Brown
University of St. Andrews, Scotland

“Drawing from sources of imposing breadth, especially in patristic literature, Genig recovers in this rich study the unity of Scripture and sacrament characteristic of the magisterial Reformers. Its appeal should be equally broad. Indeed, it is difficult to think of any Christian reader who would not profit from this book’s alliance of textual scholarship with the search for spiritual nourishment.”
Patrick Henry Reardon
Senior Editor of Touchstone