rhetoric and religion

Jo Scott-Coe's article might be usefully brought into a larger conversation about new scholarly attention to religion. Today's Chronicle features a review-ish article by Alan Wolfe called Scholars Infuse Religion with Cultural Light, in which Wolfe points to the recent focus on religion among scholars, occasioned in part by the election's focus on religion (and also, I imagine, world religions). Wolfe discusses religion's importance sociology and anthropology, but it seems to me that rhetoric should and must be added to the mix. Cary Nelson, a former colleague of mine, and by no means a theologian, teaches Burke's Rhetoric of Religion to undergrads for precisely the point of moving discussions of religion away from truth or alliances with god. Is it time to push RoR into the mainstream?

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rhetoric of religion

Good question, dh. Truth is, it's past time for RoR to be brought into the mainstream. I too have taught a course for undergrads in the rhetoric of religion using Burkes _R of R_ among other texts to help students find a language to grapple with the dynamics of faith commitments--their own and others--from a stand point neither safely inside or outside any particular faith.

I'm pleased that Jo Scott-Coe is inviting us to consider Burke's still undervalued efforts to see the Augustinian impulses in Burke's work and the relevance of both rhetors for contemporary critical engagement.