The Rhetoric of Exorcism Academic Article uri icon


  • Exorcism incorporates all three branches of classical rhetoric: judicial (as in a trial, accusing the demon for his actions); deliberative (exhorting the demon to depart); and ceremonial or epideictic (praising the power of God and blaming Satan for taking possession of a human soul). The structure of a typical exorcism follows the classical arrangement of exordium, narratio, divisio, refutatio, probatio, and peroratio. The speaker is the exorcist, a Catholic priest who was often classically educated. There are five audiences in any given exorcism, three supernatural and two human, and each of these requires specific rhetorical strategies. © The International Society for the History of Rhetoric.

author list (cited authors)

  • Kallendorf, H.

citation count

  • 2

publication date

  • August 2005