Preaching and Christianisation: Communication, Cognition and Audience Reception

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This chapter seeks to outline and challenge some of the assumptions that have underlain scholarship on Chrysostom’s preaching. Using work from modern communication theory on dialogue and mass communication as competing modes of communication, it argues first that too often Chrysostom scholars have made the mistaken assumption that Chrysostom’s preaching must have acted as a form of dialogue with his audience to have been affected. It then goes on to develop the model of mass communication as more fitting to Chrysostom’s preaching using the findings of cognitive science on how people comprehend verbal discourse and of the cognitive science of religion. Finally, it seeks to apply this new model to a small example from Chrysostom’s first two homilies on Matthew. Overall, this chapter hopes to propose not just a new model for thinking about the reception of Chrysostom’s preaching by his audiences, but also a new way for thinking about preaching’s role in the transmission and success of Christianity in late antiquity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReVisioning John Chrysostom:
Subtitle of host publicationNew Theories and Approaches
EditorsWendy Mayer, Chris De Wet
PublisherBrill Academic Publishers
Number of pages38
ISBN (Electronic)9789004390041
ISBN (Print)9789004390034
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2019


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