Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Final Exam Essays: Amanda DeBuse

Essay 1: Religion and Rhetoric

Throughout history, Christianity was seen as a universal religion that was growing rapidly, and still is, even today. Rhetoric was seen as a component to religion, particularly in Christianity, through scriptures in the Bible, and speeches given by priests and other church leaderes. It was because of a speech given by Embros, a church father, that Augustine, a rhetorician and philosopher in the 4th century, first became interested in religion. At first, he thought that religion was not intelligent or eloquent, so he was turned off by it. Embros's eloquent speak made him change his mind, and ultimately made him think more about religion, that it was something special, and indeed something that can be seen as eloquent and intelligent. Augustine eventually converted to the Christian faith after being prompted to read a scripture in the Bible that told him move forward and pursue the faith.

A tension between rhetoric and religion that can be seen through Augustine's story is the idea that religion is not eloquent. This is a falsehood because the scripture that Augustine read that ultimately lead to his conversion was powerful enough to convince him to quit his job and be baptized into the Christian faith. In the LDS faith, we see rhetoric and religion play the same role it did in Augustine's time. We have church meetings in a ward, stake, and general level that is solely church leaders speaking to us, convincing us to practice or continue a certain gospel principle. Speeches that may have been similar to Embros's speech. It is through our leaders' speaking that convinces us. But, there is a divide between their words and what we feel. The Spirit definitely is the teacher, and he speaks to us through the words of the speakers.

The first LDS prophet Joseph Smith read a scripture (James 1:5) that convinced him to go and ask God which church was right. That is the power of scripture! A spiritual impression and reading a scripture convinced Augustine, and it did for Joseph as well. Joseph said, “Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine” (JSH 1:12). Scripture and religion in general have power, both because of their language (or rhetoric) and what we feel from the Spirit, or the feelings we recieve.

Essay 2: Rhetorical Analysis of Jacob 2-3

In Jacob 2 is full of rhetorical elements. Jacob right away establishes his ethos, or his office before the people and God. He also establishes God's ethos, in addition to his as well, as a way to convince the people that what they are going is wrong in his and God's sight. He tells them that what they are doing is abominable before God and before their fellow men, particularly their wives and children. Jacob is very aware of his audience, and uses very dramatic wording such as “instead of feasting upon the word of God have daggers placed in their souls and wound their delicate minds” (Jacob 2:9). This strong, powerful language is also an appeal to the emotions of the people, or a pathos appeal, because their wives and children are mentioned.

In verse 18 of chapter 2, the famous verse that has instilled in many LDS minds is said: “But before you seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.” Jacob places this phrase after he told the people of how they were pleasing themselves with riches, and were not looking unto God. This is the “boom” of the chapter, summing up what he was last saying (decorum). The scripture itself is an example of anaphora, repeating the same two words “seek for” at the beginning of each clause. He may have used this pattern to make the saying memorable and easy to understand.

Later on in chapter 2, Jacob quotes God, add a strong persuasive appeal to his speech, and adding more to his words because God is a supreme being. Here, Jacob is adding the topic of invention authorities, which adds to his ethos.

Jacob uses the Progymnasmata exercise comparison in both chapters, but mainly in chapter 3 where he compares the people with the Lamanites, saying that they are more righteous than they are. Another emotional appeal.

One last thing to point out is the arrangement of the speech in the two chapters. In chapter 2, Jacob speaks to the people who are working iniquity, and in chapter 3, he starts out by talking to the people who are pure in heart, then goes back to the iniquitous people after a few verses. This is arrangement would make a large impact on the people who were sinning, seeing that the righteous had far less to worry about than they do. This also added to the pathos and audience of the speech.

Jacob knew what he was talking about, and who he was talking to. He used powerful language to add emotional appeal, and arranged his speech in such a way that would make it memorable for the people listening, and to us.

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