Maureen Fitzpatrick (mfitzpat@JCCCNET.JOHNCO.CC.KS.US)
Wed, 7 Aug 1996 14:39:56 -0500

This is in response to Phyllis's question about religious rhetoric that
might be used in classes (her note below)

Definitely not fy, but upper level students might gain something from going
way back to early American works--Edward's "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry
God" or Whitefield's "Abraham's Offering Up his Son Isaac" way back. While
these "Great Awakening"-era sermons may still be too unbending and one-way
in their interpretation of the "truth," at least these views are distant
enough from the average modern student that they can be analyzed a little
more objectively.

I'd also be a little curious where people draw the line as to what is
"religious rhetoric." For example, are the works of Martin Luther King
religious rhetoric? He was a minister, he founded a Christen
Coalition, and much of the power of his words are echos of the Bible. I
think he be offended if we classify him as political or social just because
we like to assume that religion is always conservative, wrong-headed or
both. Although we associate Dr. King with civil rights, much of his
rhetoric is grounded in religious rhetorical traditions. Much of what
you will find in the early chapters of any survey of rhetoric is
religious as well, and not all of it terrible. While religion has
produced a lot of rhetoric that manipulates, it also has produced works
that heal, inspire, and overflow with images.

I suppose it would be too-something to sign off as a "Devil's Advocate"

Maureen Fitzpatrick

On Wed, 7 Aug 1996, Phyllis Ryder wrote:

> I would agree that there's a difference in the "religious rhetoric" in
> which the rhetor uses the opportunity to engage in dialogue, to wonder
> about the intitial "truths" vs. those (which we seem to be calling failed
> rhetoric) in which the rhetor puts forth an idea that he/she will not
> allow to be questioned. I wonder, then, if there are any models of the
> kind of religious rhetoric that we would call "true rhetoric" that we can
> bring out and use to demonstrate the difference to students. (perhaps
> not fy, but maybe in upper level courses?) Any sugestions? --Phyllis
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Be patient towards all that is unresolved in your heart, and try to love the
> questions themselves. Do not seek the answers that cannot be given to you,
> because you would not be able to live them, and the point is to live
> Live the questions now. Perhaps you will gradually, without knowing it, live
> along some distant day into the answers. --Rainer Maria Rilke
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Phyllis Mentzell Ryder/3438 East Bellevue Street/Tucson, AZ 85716/(520)