Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Every body helps the preacher: The impact of embodied communication
by Nawrocki, Suzanne Scheiber, D.Min., Aquinas Institute of Theology, 2013, 152; 3568459
Abstract (Summary)

People hunger for God's word. With that in mind, this thesis helps to educate and encourage those entrusted with the ministry of preaching toward a better understanding of how their bodies are integrally involved in the production and delivery of the preaching event, as well as in the proclamation of the Word. To show endorsement from the hierarchy, ecclesial documents (as well as scripture) that demonstrate support for using embodied communication in the ministry of the Word are discussed.

To set the scene for studying embodied communication in preaching, relevant physiological factors and a cooperative model of communication are seen as providing the infrastructure that gives rise to our ability to communicate so adeptly.

A historical survey demonstrates how gesture studies have benefitted the church and secular society through the ages.

Gesture, a subsection of the much larger category of embodied communication, is analyzed from different perspectives: defining, describing, and attributing specific benefits for speakers and receivers alike. Gestures are universal among humans, drawn from our experiences of the world, a co-production of thought, and synchronous with speech. Gestures can share characteristics and form families with a semantic theme or they can be classified in elastic categories. Beyond gesture, the categories of embodied communication of proxemics, oculesics, and physical display also further homiletic understanding. The discovery of mirror neurons and their application to object lessons in preaching will be introduced.

Preaching excerpts are used to showcase academic findings. The interrogatory investigative method is used with a test group and could be easily adopted for a homiletic classroom.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Harris, Daniel
Commitee: DeLeers, Stephen V., Harris, Daniel, Pazdan, Mary Margaret, Vincie, Catherine, Werner, Honora
School: Aquinas Institute of Theology
Department: Homiletics
School Location: United States -- Missouri
Source: DAI-A 74/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Clerical studies, Communication, Theology
Keywords: Cooperative model of communication, Coproduced with speech, Embodied communication, Gestures, Homiletics, Nonverbal and preaching, Preacher
Publication Number: 3568459
ISBN: 978-1-303-22968-8
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