Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Tilli, J.
Preaching as master’s discourse. A Foucauldian interpretation of Lutheran pastoral power
(2019) Critical Research on Religion, 7 (2), pp. 113-129.

DOI: 10.1177/2050303219848059

Abstract
Michel Foucault acknowledged that the Reformation was a pastoral battle and a reorganization of pastoral power. He did not, however, analyze Protestantism much further. This article broadens the scope of critical research on Protestantism, focusing on Lutheranism. Preaching is a fruitful way to overcome overemphasis on confession. In this endeavor I apply Foucault’s concept of “master’s discourse.” I argue that while, in Lutheranism, conversion through comprehensive soul-searching is an individual matter, at the same time it relies on technologies aimed at a collective audience, such as preaching. Since preaching is divine speech, the Lutheran priest wields enormous spiritual power: the preacher is the truth-teller and the subject is required to listen to and internalize the proclaimed truth, instead of confessing their sins. © The Author(s) 2019.

Author Keywords
Lutheranism; Michel Foucault; Pastoral power; preaching; Protestantism

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