Nommo – Creative Power of the Word

In Homiletic Theory, Dr. McClure has given each of the students a few terms that we are to define. By the luck of the draw (or lack thereof) I was among the first students that had to define a word in homiletics. Interestingly enough the word that I was given is one that I knew nothing about originally. the word is Nommo which is an Afrocentric term that refers to the creative power of the word. If anyone wishes to read the full document you can get it below.

In each of these definitions we are supposed to give 3 or more points that preachers should learn from the term. Here is the definition from the document as well as these points.

Definition of Nommo

Nommo is an Afrocentric term employed by Molefi Asante that refers to the powers of the word to generate and create reality. Asante further sees it as a communal that event that moves towards the creation and maintenance of the community. Melbourne S. Cummings and Abhik Roy quote Asante as also seeing Nommo as the power of the word to create harmony and balance in disharmony.


Keys for Preachers

  1. Nommo is holistic and not dualistic. It seeks to use the power of language to overstep dualities. Cummings and Roy referred to this idea being in the concept of rhythm.
  2. Nommo points to the power of language to change reality. This idea is implicit in certain preachers that are called “transformational.” This is implied in the definition that says that Nommo is the creative power of the word.
  3. Nommo points to the inability to separate form from truth. While some would say that you have truth and you drape it in words, especially some traditional preachers, Nommo comes from the perspective that words cannot be separated from form and that the form itself holds some truth.
  4. Nommo points to the importance of speaking to a community rather than to individuals. The whole point of Nommo, as described above, is to build community. This is done through a communal experience with the spoken word.
  5. Nommo points to a “participation” of the community in the word rather than just being passive listeners. The goal of Nommo is to bring about a unified community who are at one with the word that comes through repetition and in a form that is easily entered.
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