Religious Discourse in Attic Oratory and Politics
The book offers a critical investigation of a wide range of features of religious discourse in the transmitted forensic, symbouleutic and epideictic orations of the Ten Attic Orators, a body of 151 speeches which represents the mature flourishing of the ancient art of public speaking and persuasion.
Serafim focuses on how the intersections between such religious discourse and the political, legal and civic institutions of classical Athens help to shed new light on polis identity-building and the construction of an imagined community in three institutional contexts – the law court, the Assembly and the Boulē: a community that unites its members and defines the ways in which they make decisions. After a full-scale survey of the persistently and recurrently used features of religious discourse in Attic oratory, he contextualizes and explains the use of specific patterns of religious discourse in specific oratorical contexts, examining the means or restrictions that these contexts generate for the speaker. In doing so, he explores the cognitive/emotional and physical/sensory reactions of the speaker and the audience when religious stimuli are provided in orations, and how this contributes to the construction of civic and political identity in classical Athens.
Religious Discourse in Attic Oratory and Politics will be of interest to anyone working on classical Athens, particularly its legal institutions, on ancient rhetoric, and ancient Greek religion and politics.
Chapter 1. Religious discourse in Attic oratory: A full survey
Chapter 2. Contextualizing religious discourse
Chapter 3. Reacting to the "airy nothing"
Chapter 4. Civic/political identity in religious discourse
"Serafim has produced a scholarly volume of significant erudition. In exploring the use of religious discourse across the entire canon of the Attic orators, Serafim has emphasised the importance of understanding religion in oratory, adding considerably to the knowledge of this topic. This book is very timely, with many connections that can easily be drawn to modern political life. What makes this particularly relevant is the use of modern frameworks to understand sociological phenomena, such as religion, identity and the importance of contexts in society... [T]his is a fine volume on a topic that, given the current political climate and the importance of religion in politics, is timely and even cautionary to all citizens in democratic countries to be mindful of the way religion is used in political discourse." - Bryn Mawr Classical Review