The classical theory of homogeneous bubble nucleation is reconsidered by employing a phenomenological nucleation barrier in the capillarity approximation that utilizes the superheat threshold achieved in experiments. Consequently, an algorithm is constructed for the evaluation of the superheat temperatures in homogeneous boiling (tensile strengths in cavitation), the critical radii and steady-state nucleation rates. The nucleation theorem is written in this framework and is applied to the classical theory of homogeneous bubble nucleation for the phenomenological nucleation barrier employed. The superheat temperatures calculated show excellent agreement over a wide range of liquid pressures for most of the substances investigated. The steady-state nucleation rates are also altered by many orders of magnitude, in agreement with the results of previous investigators using different approaches. (C) 2003 American Institute of Physics.