The appeal to religious authority: a case-study.

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The paper analyzes a particular type of support that religious authorities use in their argumentative monologues on moral and theological matters. In particular, the argumentative monologue given by Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI during his 2011 visit to the federal parliament in the Reichstag in Berlin will be used as a case study. In his speech, Ratzinger offers his reflections on the foundations of law starting from his interpretation of a brief story from the First Book of the Kings in the Old Testament (1 Kings 3:5-10). The entire interpretation assumes the form of an argumentative text, in which he appeals to an authoritative voice of German-language jurisprudence (Hans Kelsen) and three Christian religious authorities (St Augustine, Origen of Alexandria, and St Paul). The aim of the study is to assess the pragmatic strength of Ratzinger’s argumentation and thus verify the authoritative contribution of religious experts in his argumentation, in which religion and ethics are linked together.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)77-115
Numero di pagine39
RivistaJournal of Argumentation in Context
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2023


  • Joseph Ratzinger
  • appeal to authority
  • argument from expert opinion
  • argumentative monologue


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