Persuasion or Manipulation: Employing Pathos as a Persuasive Strategy in Protestant Sermons


ADAM Martin

Year of publication 2022
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Education

Description Besides the discourses of politics, advertising and marketing, which are generally considered persuasive by definition (van Dijk 1998, 2008), in many ways it is the religious discourse that adopts persuasion as one of its essential instruments to convince the audience of the truthfulness of the doctrine it presents, be it sermons, theological treatises, doxologies, personal testimonies, evangelistic texts, apologetic argumentation, or the Bible itself (Lempert 2015, Adam 2017, 2019, Dontcheva-Navratilova et al. 2020). The proposed corpus-driven paper explores the persuasive strategies and linguistic means employed to convey persuasion in English Protestant sermons. It strives to shed light on the rhetorical role of pathos, which is purposefully evoked by the preacher via affect; stirred emotions are to boost the persuasive effect, i.e. to promote the doctrine and to make the believers comprehend and accept spiritual truths. Special attention will also be paid to the blurred borderline between the intentional use of sentimentality and manipulation.

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