Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Final Exam Essays: Kelly Duncan

Short Essay

Tertullian famously asked, “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?”

Tertullian failed to see much connection between Christian heritage and Greek thought and philosophy.  He felt a conflict in sustaining two empires, and evidently had abandoned the old (Athens) to offer proof of support for the new (Christianity).

Augustine of Hippo was a rhetorician who examined the Bible and resolved that it lacked rhetorical eloquence. Later, when he met Ambrose, a Christian, and listed to his religious orations, he influenced led into the faith of Christianity. St. Augustine then extensively analyzed the techné of rhetoric within the Bible.       

For many, it arouses suspicion to say that religion can, or should, be examined rhetorically.  The power of one will not undermine the other. 

There is a usefulness of taking a rhetorical approach in the field of religion. In order to hold listeners captive, a speech or text must navigate between both a low and high style of teaching in order to balance understanding and persuasion, consecutively.  It is then, on this middle ground, where an orator can secure attention.

Religious messages can be analyzed in rhetorical terms and rhetoric itself can sometimes show a religious dimension. Both do influence each other.

In contemporary Christianity, biblical scholars interpret the Bible and other standard works in order to more effectively persuade and enlighten.  Utilizing rhetoric, a religion should lead its members to peruse truth and understanding. Unfortunately, through manipulation and disingenuous forms of rhetoric, some religious leaders have been near-sighted in their purpose—using guilt and shame to keep members now, only to estrange those individuals later.

The art of rhetoric is a powerful force when it is understood and applied. Religions should use it for good to ensure trust from followers.

Short Rhetorical Analysis

Jacob’s sermon is a message to the Nephite people, reprimanding them for their greed, racism, and infidelity. In Jacob’s oration to the people he begins by establishing his ethos, and claiming responsibility he has from God to “declare” His word (2:2-5).  Throughout the two chapters, Jacob continuously refers to the “word of the Lord”. By basing his message on an authoritative figure such as God, Jacob uses both chreia and the supernatural.

Jacob refers to the people enlarging the “wounds of those who are already wounded” as well as “daggers placed to pierce […] souls”. Speaking of figurative wounds and injuries though metaphor (2:9)

The first message Jacob delivered through God was one of onedismus in (2:13) as he reproached the ungrateful. He said the people had accumulated a great deal of wealth and yet “are lifted up in the pride of your hearts”.

Jacob pressed the people to turn their pride around in (2:16) and employed an exclamatio at the end of the verse: O that ye would listen unto the word of his commands, and let not this pride of your hearts destroy your souls!”

In (2:23) Jacob offered an ominato, or a prophesy of evil, comparing the Nephites to David and Solomon, both men who had many wives and concubines. This story is mentioned as, “things which were written”—a reference to the Old Testament (document).

Through mentions of “the cries of the fair daughters of this people” and the “broken hearts of your tender wives and lost confidence of your children”, this message appealed the emotions though pathopoeia, or pathos.

In chapter 3, Jacob began by commending virtue (comprobatio) to those who are pure in heart and have faith. He guaranteed acceptance from God (3:1-2).  However in the next verse, Jacob warned the wicked of consequence if they do not repent. He began his advisory with a repeating “wo, wo” (epizeuxis) for emphasis.

In (3:5), Jacob compared the degrees of the offenses made by the Nephites with the Lamanites. Saying, despite the Lamanites having a curse, they were still living more righteously because they were not living promiscuously.

As his oration came to a close, Jacob brought all of his points to conclusion in (3:12), and offered an accumulation and a clear and final warning of their sins.

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