Calls for papers

Rhetoric of Religion

Issue editor: Anna Bendrat (

In "The Rhetoric of Religion: Studies in Logology" (1961) Kenneth Burke wrote: “Theological doctrine is a body of spoken or written words. Whatever else it may be, and wholly regardless of whether it be true or false, theology is predominantly verbal (vi). Apart from its quality of being verbal, religious and theological discourse can also be characterized as persuasive. As Burke explains, this type of discourse falls under the category of rhetoric since “in the sense that rhetoric is the art of persuasion . . . religious cosmogonies are designed . . . as exceptionally thoroughgoing modes of persuasion” (v). In the words of Greig Henderson (1989), “The concern of Kenneth Burke is not with the truth-value of religion but with its terminology, its status as language.” In the upcoming issue we would like to explore the duality of the rhetoric of religion, both as the art of words and the art of persuasion.
Therefore, we invite submissions of articles concerning the following topics:

• Rhetoric in religious discourse:
◦ Rhetorical forms of religious expression: discourse about the gods (narrative, eulogy, preaching) and discourse addressed to the gods (prayers, hymns)
◦ Religious dimension of rhetoric –skill of persuasion as god-given power, gift of convincing people, oratorical gift
◦ Verbal nature of Revelation in various religious traditions
◦ Methodology of rhetorical analysis of religious texts (Bible, Quran)
◦ Rhetoric of religious movements

• “Sacred rhetoric” (Marietta 2012) shaping secular discourse
◦ Rhetoric of civil religion – moral and spiritual foundations of a nation (founding myths, public rituals, symbols, ceremonies)
◦ Values and value conflict in grand public debates (abortion, euthanasia etc.)
◦ Sacred values as essential elements of persuasion in political debates and elections
◦ The “promises” and “perils” of democracy – the impact of religious metaphors on citizens’ reasoning and public opinion

submission deadline: March 31, 2017
• target publication date: June 2017.