Social conflict and sacrificial rhetoric: Luther’s discursive intervention and the religious division of labor
Keywords:Social conflict, Luther, Martin, 1531-1565, Sacrifice -- Christianity, Theology, Lutheran, Bible -- Criticism, interpretation, Polemics
Abstract‘Sacrifice’ is a religious term whose use extends far beyond the church door. People from all walks of life speak of ‘sacrifice’ when they want to evoke an irreducible conflict in the relations between self, family, and society. In America, hardly a speech goes by without political leaders insisting upon the necessity and virtue of sacrifice, but rarely will they clarify who is sacrificing what, and to whom. Indeed, this is not only an American phenomenon, as a number of recent texts examining ‘sacrifice’ as a term in various national discourses have shown. Such a political and economic deployment of a religious figure demands interpretation, for not only does the rhetoric of sacrifice span the globe, it constitutes a problem with a long genealogy. As a key moment in the Western segment of this genealogy, this article examines the way that Luther’s exegetical work rhetoricalized sacrifice, and, in doing so, constructed a new discursive position, the pastor as anti-sophist, or parrhesiast, in the religious division of labor.
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Copyright (c) 2006 Christopher Roberts
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