Since the beginning of time, rhetoric has been a vital aspect of religion. Ancient Greeks and Romans spoke about the powers of the Gods to persuade people to fall in love or go to war. For instance, Odysseus and other characters in Homer’s the Iliad and the Odyssey were very much controlled by the actions of the Gods. These religious stories are what compelled members of society to maintain different societal traditions that separated societies.
St. Augustine—who was not always religious—took notice of Christian literature from a more academic angle. In Of Christian Doctrine, he takes on topics such as the danger of taking figurative concepts literally and teaches that all things interpreted must promote the love of God and man in order to be valid. This was an important concept because of many religious leaders’ focus on the literal meaning of texts to the point of insult or injury to individuals rather than focusing on the purpose of Christianity—to foster a love of Christ.