Words and Witnesses: Communication Studies in Christian Thought from Athanasius to Desmond Tutu

edited by Robert H. Woods, Jr. / Naaman K. Wood

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Retail: $34.95
Size: 6 x 9 inches
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 400
Pub Date: September 2018
ISBN: 9781683071730
ISBN-13: 9781683071730
Item Number: 071730
Categories: Theology; Church History

Product Description

How should Christians address specific problems, controversies, and crises in communication today? By looking at influential Christian thinkers throughout history, we can identify wisdom that enriches us today in practical ways.

Words and Witnesses explores various influential Christian thinkers and theologians from across church history in order to expand our contemporary conversations in communication studies and media theory. Individual chapters written by contributing scholars focus on major Christian thinkers, starting with Athanasius, St. Augustine, and John Chrysostom, moving through the Middle Ages to address figures such as Anselm, Nicholas of Cusa, Teresa of Lisieux, and arriving in the present with reflections on the work of John Howard Yoder, C. S. Lewis, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Kuyper, and Desmond Tutu, among others.

Each chapter delves into how the contemporary church, and scholars of media, can turn to these influential Christian thinkers as resources for addressing specific problems in communication today. By analyzing church practices, doctrine, and biblical texts this book provides the church with resources and inspiration to communicate in distinctly Christian ways.


“What an imaginative book—professors of communication theory writing about theology—and not just writing, but making quite illuminating remarks about theology and its communication.”
Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Law, Duke University Divinity School

“This volume announces the power of witnesses offering testimony for a faith narrative engaged in action. People embedded in a story of faith significance provide vivid markers that witness to the fact that God’s world still has moments of revelatory change and genesis moments that transform lives.”
Ronald C. Arnett, author of Levinas’s Rhetorical Demand: The Unending Obligation of Communication Ethics

Words and Witnesses provides long-needed explorations of the ways in which communication concerns, as well as theories of communication, run throughout the Christian tradition. Impelled by Christ’s command to ‘go, teach all nations,’ and born in the era of Greco-Roman rhetoric, Christianity consistently engaged communication, laying an often-forgotten groundwork for contemporary communication study. Words and Witnesses wonderfully reintroduces those connections for a current generation of communication scholarship.”
Paul A. Soukup, SJ, Pedro Arrupe Professor of Communication, Santa Clara University

Words and Witnesses is a beautiful book, cover to cover. Conceptually an original idea, it has collected communicative wisdom that has inspired the ages worldwide, and put it in a contemporary setting. Woods and Wood have given the academic fields of communications studies and theology a fundamental text.”
Mark Fackler, Professor of Communications Emeritus, Calvin College

“One of the most engaging compilations of cogent thought on religious communication. The collected forty-seven scholars have delved into relevant texts, contexts, and applications from seminal thinkers of theological communication. They have gleaned salient principles that not only inform our contemporary understanding of communication processes, but refresh and revitalize them. In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, and now speaks to us through communication scholars who have opened up tradition for us.”
Terry Lindvall, Professor of Communication, Virginia Wesleyan University; author of God Mocks: A History of Religious Satire from the Hebrew Prophets to Stephen Colbert

“After thirty years in broadcasting, writing, speaking, and maintaining a personal library of over thirty thousand books, I assumed I had seen all that the publishing world had to offer. Never, I thought, could I describe any bound volume as ‘unprecedented’ or ‘unique.’ But Words and Witnesses exploded my lackadaisical assumptions. Never have I seen such an astute collection of essays analyzing the rhetorical styles, communications schemas, or dialogical strategies of so many different vendors of Christian words from so many different eras and from so many different Christian traditions. Of course, one would expect Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Kierkegaard, Newman, Merton, Ellul, Hauerwas, and C. S. Lewis, but you’ll be delighted with Chiara Lubich, James Cone, Margaret Fell, Desmond Tutu, Saint Angela of Foligno, Peter Kreeft, Hans Urs von Balthasar, and dozens of others. Since we worship a Savior who warns that we will be judged by every word spoken, it does us wise to ask our elders and betters how they have dared to speak the Word through many, many words. Thank you for this extraordinary guide.”
Al Kresta, President/CEO Ave Maria Communications and Host of Kresta in the Afternoon

Editor Bios

Robert H. Woods, Jr., is Professor of Communication at Spring Arbor University, where he teaches in the MA program. He holds a PhD in Communication from Regent University, Virginia, and is licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Dr. Woods has served as the President of the Religious Communication Association and is editor, coeditor, or author of 10 books.
Editor currently resides in Spring Arbor, Michigan.
Naaman K. Wood is Assistant Professor of Media and Communication at Redeemer University College and has taught communication courses at Tidewater Community College, Spring Arbor University, and courses in theology and culture at Northwest University. Wood holds an MTS and ThM from Duke Divinity School, and a PhD from Regent University. His work has been published in Symbolic Interaction, Jazz Perspectives, and Prophetic Critique and Popular Media.
Editor currently resides in Hamilton, Ontario (Canada).