Words and Witnesses

Words and Witnesses: Communication Studies in Christian Thought from Athanasius to Desmond Tutu. Edited by Robert H. Woods Jr and Naaman K. Wood (Hendrickson, 2018).

Below is a breakdown of how certain chapters in the book align with key subject areas in the field of communication.

Communication Theory


Saint Athanasius of Alexandria (c. 296–373): Communicating Creatively and Clearly with Hostile Audiences by Paul A. Creasman

Relational Dialectics

Saint Benedict of Nursia (c. 480–c. 543): Learning to Live Well with Others in a World of Contradictions by Diane M. Badzinski

Cultural Studies and/or Semiotics

James H. Cone (1938–2018): Analyzing Public Symbols to Expose Social Injustices by Kevin D. Miller

Gregory of Nyssa (c. 335–c. 395): Re-imagining a Historical Narrative to Help Confront Institutional Oppression by Naaman K. Wood

Standpoint and/or Muted Group

Catherine Booth (1829–1890): Disturbing the Present to Promote Gender Equality by Kathy Bruner and Kenneth Baillie

Margaret Fell (1614–1702): Championing the Feminine Voice for Advocacy and Change by Joy E. A. Qualls

Saint Angela of Foligno (1248–1309): Evangelizing through Kataphatic, or Realistic, Rhetoric by Barbara S. Spies

Symbolic Interactionism

Martin Luther (1483–1546): Avoiding the Use of “Othering” to Construct Christian Self-Identity in a Pluralistic Society by Mark L. Ward Sr.

 Media Ecology

Saint Augustine of Hippo (354–430): Embracing the Practical Wisdom of Incarnate Communication in a Digital World by Calvin L. Troup

Jeanne-Marie Bouvier de la Motte-Guyon (1648–1717): Nurturing Attentive Silence as a Counterpractice for a Digital Age by Stephanie Bennett

Jacques Ellul (1912–1994): Communicating Wisely with Hospitable Resistance in a Technological World by Quentin J. Schultze

Narrative Paradigm

Stanley Hauerwas (1940– ): Using Narrative as the Catalyst and Context for Moral Reasoning in Faith Communities by Richard K. Olson and Julie W. Morgan

Desmond Tutu (1931– ): Communicating Forgiveness through Ubuntu by Kathy Sindorf

Interpersonal Communication

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (1873–1897): Demonstrating Hospitality to Difficult People in Practical Ways by Mary Albert Darling

Menno Simons (1496–1561): Engaging Interpersonal Confrontation and Avoidance for Organizational Integrity by Bill Strom

The Prophetic Tradition

Walter Rauschenbusch (1861–1918): Providing a Roadmap for Social Critique by Christina Littlefield

Carl F. H. Henry (1913–2003): Indicting Evangelical Inaction on Social Problems by Michal A. Longinow

Walter Brueggemann (1933– ): Confronting the Dominant Culture through Prophetic Imagination by Terri Lynn Cornwell

Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855): Using Indirect Communication Strategies to Challenge the Complacent by Benson P. Fraser

Alexander Campbell (1788–1866): Crusading for Pacifism and Abolition in a Time of War and Slavery by Kenneth E. Waters

Christian Public Discourse

Justin Martyr (c.100–165): Articulating a “Faithful Witness” in Public and Political Life by Mark Allan Steiner

Saint Anselm of Canterbury (1033–1109): Cultivating Solemnity and Humility by Observing How Words Function by Mark A. E. Williams

Thomas Cranmer (1489–1556): Unifying and Reconciling through The Book of Common Prayer by Thomas J. Carmody

Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968): Loving Your Enemies by Developing “Agape in the Soul” by John R. Katsion

Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491–1556): Embodying Civility in Contentious Times by Blake J. Neff

Saint Irenaeus of Lyon (early 2nd century–202): Encouraging Patience in Learning and Humility within Christian Community by Tom Holsinger-Friesen


Frank Sheed (1897–1982): Initiating Dialogue about Belief by Margaret M. Mullan

Peter Kreeft (1937– ): Perspective-taking to Promote Religious Dialogue by Timothy M. Muehlhoff

John of Salisbury (c. 1120–c.1180): Relying on a Tradition of Dialogue and Ethics as a Model of Education for a Post-Christian World by Brian Gilchrist

Epistemology and Rhetoric

Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905–1988): “Kneeling Rhetoric” in Dark Times by Craig T. Maier

Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971): Placing Reason and Revelation in Historical Dialogue by Thomas M. Lessl

John Howard Yoder (1927–1997): Advocating Patient Proclamation through the Use of Middle Axioms by Gerald J. Mast

John Calvin (1509–1564): Practicing Divine Accommodation to Manifest God’s Love by Kenneth R. Chase

Nicholas of Cusa (1401–1464): Sharing Ordinary Things to Bridge “Knowledge Gaps” by Russell P. Johnson

John Wesley (1703–1791): Bearing Witness through Divine Gift, Sacred Choice, and Embodied Action by Elizabeth W. McLaughlin

John Henry Newman (1801–1890): Persuading through a Holistic Rhetoric of Belief by Janie Harden Fritz

Mass Media

Thomas Merton (1915–1968): Re-discovering Communication as a Message of Love for Communion by Jennifer Jones

Hans Nielsen Hauge (1771–1824): Offering a Prescription for Social Change by William J. Brown and Asbjørn Simonnes

C. S. Lewis (1898–1963): Constructing Relational Messages to Steal Past Prejudices Against Christians by Steven A. Beebe

Chiara Lubich (1920–2008): Mediating Unity and Love by Dennis D. Cali

Charles M. Sheldon (1857–1946): Promoting Accuracy and Advocacy in an Age of Competing Voices by Michael Ray Smith