Although Shedd is often remembered as a theologian and historian, he also devoted his writing to the theory and practice of preaching. He forcefully argues that rhetorical elegance—the kind required for good preaching—is not merely a matter of aesthetics, but of ethics. He describes the relationship between eloquence and exegesis, the process of choosing a text and crafting a sermon, and the nature of extemporaneous preaching. The second half of this volume defines and explains the relationship between preaching and pastoral theology. Shedd explores not only the intellectual responsibilities of clergy, but also the pastoral function of leadership.
William G. T. Shedd was born in 1820 in Acton, Massachusetts. He attended the University of Vermont, where he studied under James Marsh and encountered the writings of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. He graduated in 1839 and entered Andover Theological Seminary, where he studied under Leonard Woods. At Andover, he became committed to Calvinism in general and Presbyterianism in particular. Upon graduating in 1843, he became a minister at the congregational church in Brandon, Vermont for two years. He taught at the University of Vermont from 1845 to 1852, at Auburn Theological Seminary from 1852 to 1854, and at Andover Theological Seminary from 1854 to 1862. He began teaching at Union Theological Seminary in 1864, where he remained until his death in 1894. While at Union, he defended the Reformed theology of Old School Presbyterianism against the increasing influence of modernism and higher criticism. In addition to the works included in this collection, he is also well-known for his 7-volume Complete Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and his Dogmatic Theology, available from Logos.