Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Theology (MTh)




Martin Luther University College

First Advisor

Eduard R. Riegert

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


This study analyzes the nature, messages, and methods of television communication through the rhetorical categories of 'ethos', 'logos', and 'pathos', to determine the implications for preaching today. Television's main goal is to attract the largest audience for advertisers, and uses messages and methods that appeal to emotion, so that people experience television more than they learn from it. Deductive 'logos' is virtually absent from television, and only messages that elevate 'pathos' and 'ethos' succeed on television. The environment, values, and perceptions of everyone have been altered by television. It is the major storyteller of the culture, and has redefined society's communication expectations. People have become more sceptical about who they will listen to, and more demanding that messages be creative and appeal to their experience and emotion. Television is an effective communicator because it matches methods and messages to the felt needs of people and dominant cultural moods and expectations. Preachers have a similar rhetorical goal, to find out how people are persuaded and to design the right arguments in the right order for the benefit of the audience. They need today to realize the importance of emotional appeal in attracting attention and changing values. Preachers can become more fluent in using 'pathos' by reading the Scriptures according to the text's emotional flow and analyzing their own points of identification. Sermons should be designed according to narrative principles for maximum emotional impact. As an oral event, preaching requires a speaker who can make the words come alive through an impassioned delivery. Persuasion can be enhanced or weakened depending on how well the preacher combines the 'pathos' of the message with his/her own 'ethos'. The conclusion is that in light of rhetorical principles, and the influence of television, a new preaching strategy is needed that recreates the emotional appeal of Scripture in the emotional experience of the hearer.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


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Christianity Commons