Ritual Civility, Moral Practices of Interpersonal Exchange, and Symbolic Communication

Marc Gopin

in Holy War, Holy Peace

Published in print April 2002 | ISBN: 9780195146509
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834235 | DOI:
Ritual Civility, Moral Practices of Interpersonal Exchange, and Symbolic Communication

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Abrahamic and cultural processes of change have been neglected by elite diplomacy and conflict resolution efforts in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict (although possibly only at a conscious level). However, cultural and religious habits can be very helpful in peacemaking processes, and are expressed in two kinds of human engagements – informal and formal or ritualistic; such nonrational interactions are a necessary catalyst of rational negotiations. The power of symbol and metaphor is also a strong factor in interreligious encounters. This is investigated first by looking at the most elemental level of the encounter – the human face – and then at two other key ingredients of empathetic psychology – silence (listening) and humility. An examination is then made of symbolic and moral gestures, symbolic communication, and rituals. Numerous illustrative examples of these points are given from the author's experiences in Israel and Palestine.

Keywords: communication; conflict resolution; culture; human face; humility; Israel; listening; moral gestures; Palestine; religion; rituals; silence; symbolic communication; symbolic gestures; symbols

Chapter.  14191 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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