Revista Studii Teologice


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"Dimensiunea interpersonală a comunicării omiletice"

The Interpersonal Dimension of Homiletic Communication

Autor(i): Pr. Marius Daniel CIOBOTĂ

Summary: The Interpersonal Dimension of Homiletic Communication
Due to its complexity and manifold manifestations, interpersonal communication is the paradigm of all other communication forms. Theoreticians have defined six main objectives evincing this character: inner knowledge (self-knowledge); knowledge of the outside world; establishing and maintaining significant relationships with other persons; persuading the interlocutor – that is, influencing and changing one’s opinions, beliefs, attitudes and behaviour; assisting other persons; play or entertainment. Unlike the impersonal relationships we establish with our fellow people under various circumstances, interpersonal communication depends on our awareness of psychological data concerning the interlocutors, which allow us to anticipate and interprete their attitudes correctly, otherwise the respective interaction remains incipient and shallow. These benefits of interpersonal knowledge entail individual behavioural rules, determined by one’s familiarity with the interlocutor’s peculiarities. Social expertise demonstrates that any interhuman relationship begins with impersonal relationships which progressively become interpersonal.
Consequently, beside the classical elements of communication theory (sender, message, receiver, channel, code or language), the realm of interpersonal communication gives significant weight to dynamic concepts such as: perception, feedback, auto-feedback, affectivity, interpersonal knowledge, empathy, subjectivity, communication or pragmatic skills, reciprocity, context or communication situation, psychological relationship (communication contact), non-verbal behaviour, effects, and so on. From an axiological standpoint, these convergent factors substantiate the highest communication form in the social universe. An ample interpersonal process takes place between the Christian preacher and the receivers of his homily. Beyond the strictly linguistic level of the sermon, between the preacher and his audience, an intense communication relationship is established. Thousands of invisible bonds – impressions, emotions, perceptions, reactions, mutual responses, etc. – connect the two poles of homiletic communication, involving them in a deep meta-communicational experience.
By virtue of the observations concerning the analogical level of communication, one of the major objectives of contemporary homiletics is better knowledge of the receiver. From this standpoint, awareness of the perceptive phenomenon occurring during the sermon, against the background of essential subjectivity, may determine a new approach on homiletic techniques, with a view to reaching out to the audience. Research into interactional psychology directs the homiletic discourse towards stressing the circumstantial and affective element. By emphasizing the paradigmatic value of interpersonal communication, we have avoided deeming the preacher as a mere sender, and audience as mere collective receiver, with the message as mere religious information, which would have resulted in a reductionist view. Both the deliverer and the receivers of the Christian message establish a much more complex relationship. Despite being a one-way verbal expression, the sermon has a dialogical character, especially at the inner psychological-emotional level. For this reason, we deemed more appropriate to designate it as homiletic communication, intending to emphasize (not only terminologically) the transactional, deeply interactive function of the sermon.

Pagini: pp. 49-84