Place of Pathos in Preaching
The critical importance of emotion in preachingSee theme
Pathos means "feeling or emotion" (Conley 317). When used in discussions of persuasion, it is "all those materials and devices calculated to put the audience in a frame of mind suitable for the reception of the speaker's ideas" (Thonssen and Baird 358). Pathos deserves a central place in homiletical theorizing and practicea higher place than it currently receives.
I will argue that claim in the first section of this paper and make some suggestions in the second section, but before getting into the body of the paper, I need to make a disclaimer: This paper does not pit pathos against logos. I believe that preaching must include a strong cognitive element, or else it is not preaching. Without a dominant idea derived from a biblical text, supplemented with other ideas, a sermon is merely "sound and fury signifying nothing."
However, while preaching cannot be less than the communication of a biblical idea, it should be more. De Quincey compared the two arts of rhetoric, logos and pathos, ...