Renovating Rhetoric in Christian Tradition

Renovating Rhetoric in Christian Tradition

Elizabeth Vander Lei
Thomas Amorose
Beth Daniell
Anne Ruggles Gere
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 224
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt6wr9q4
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    Renovating Rhetoric in Christian Tradition
    Book Description:

    Throughout history, determined individuals have appropriated and reconstructed rhetorical and religious resources to create effective arguments. In the process, they have remade both themselves and their communities. This edited volume offers notable examples of these reconstructions, ranging from the formation of Christianity to questions about the relationship of religious and academic ways of knowing.The initial chapters explore historic challenges to Christian doctrines and gender roles. Contributors examine Mormon women's campaigns for the recognition of their sect, women's suffrage, and the statehood of Utah; the Seventh-day Adventist challenge to the mainstream designation of Sunday as the Sabbath; a female minister who confronted the gendered tenets of early Methodism and created her own sacred spaces; women who, across three centuries, fashioned an apostolic voice of humble authority rooted in spiritual conversion; and members of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, who redefined notions of women's intellectual capacity and appropriate fields for work from the Civil War through World War II.Considering contemporary learning environments, other contributors explore resources that can help faculty and students of composition and rhetoric consider more fully the relations of religion and academic work. These contributors call upon the work of theologians, philosophers, and biblical scholars to propose strategies for building trust through communication.The final chapters examine the writings of Apostle Paul and his use of Jewish forms of argumentation and provide an overarching discussion of how the Christian tradition has resisted rhetorical renovation, and in the process, missed opportunities to renovate spiritual belief.

    eISBN: 978-0-8229-7959-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. ix-xviii)
    Elizabeth Vander Lei

    This book grows out of and contributes to a persistent scholarly curiosity about the relationship of rhetoric and religion, a curiosity that dapples the history of rhetoric from Augustine’sOn Christian Doctrineto the work of contemporary scholars, a curiosity that persists in part, I believe, because scholars have found that examining this relationship produces useful insights about complex rhetorical acts like argumentation.Renovating Rhetoric in Christian Traditionfocuses attention on rhetors who press into service an array of rhetorical strategies—some drawn from Christian tradition and some contributing to Christian tradition—to achieve their rhetorical ends. And it gives...

  5. THE RISE OF CHRISTIAN SECTS

    • 1 CONSTRUCTING DEVOUT FEMINISTS: A MORMON CASE
      (pp. 3-16)
      Anne Ruggles Gere

      The followers who accompanied Brigham Young when he arrived in the Great Salt Lake valley on July 24, 1847, and declared “this is the place,” were the first Mormon pioneers to envision Utah as a location where they could practice their religion with minimal interference. Adherents to this religion, which took shape as Joseph Smith publishedThe Book of Mormonin 1830, had moved from Palmyra, New York, to Kirtland, Ohio, to Nauvoo, Illinois, to avoid violence and discrimination, but the 1844 murder of Joseph Smith in Carthage, Illinois, and the subsequent harassment of his followers convinced them to leave...

    • 2 A RHETORIC OF OPPOSITION: THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH AND THE SABBATH TRADITION
      (pp. 17-28)
      Lizabeth A. Rand

      The fourth commandment, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” has been a central principle of the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) church, a Christian denomination with over sixteen million members worldwide, since its beginning. According to Adventist theologian Raymond F. Cottrell, “the Sabbath was . . . in a very real sense, the unifying factor around which the Seventh-day Adventist Church came into being, and it is still a potent force that binds together the Adventist people around the world, transcending all barriers of nationality, race, language, political ideology, and economic status.”¹ Adventists worship on Saturday—the seventh day of...

  6. THE RISE OF FEMALE RHETORS

    • 3 PREACHING FROM THE PULPIT STEPS: MARY BOSANQUET FLETCHER AND WOMEN’S PREACHING IN EARLY METHODISM
      (pp. 31-44)
      Vicki Tolar Burton

      On February 2, 1773, Mary Bosanquet (1739–1815) recorded in her journal: “I went this day to A—. Had a good time in speaking from those words, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.’”¹ Situated in her journal between an entry on being in bad spirits and another on a road trip during which the horse grew ill, this passage seems quite ordinary. But the passage is in fact extraordinary, for it is considered the first written record of a Methodist woman’s sermon and signals a historic time, when a movement was enacting rhetorical...

    • 4 “WITH THE TONGUE OF [WO]MEN AND ANGELS”: APOSTOLIC RHETORICAL PRACTICES AMONG RELIGIOUS WOMEN
      (pp. 45-58)
      Aesha Adams-Roberts, Rosalyn Collings Eves and Liz Rohan

      In 1804 an African Caribbean Methodist woman, Anne Hart Gilbert, wrote a history of Methodism that sought to correct circulating histories of the Antiguan Methodist church (written by white men) by exposing corrupt practices of some white missionaries and inserting black women into this history.¹ Yet in order to reimagine her community, she had to adopt a voice that would grant her religious and rhetorical authority. Her efforts to come to voice raise the question: How can we best understand the ethoi of Hart Gilbert and women like her, women who grapple not only with the masculine norms of rhetorical...

    • 5 RHETORICAL STRATEGIES IN PROTESTANT WOMEN’S MISSIONS: APPROPRIATING AND SUBVERTING GENDER IDEALS
      (pp. 59-70)
      Karen K. Seat

      Between the Civil War and World War II, millions of Protestant American women took up the cause of missions, creating their own woman-run missionary societies and sending unmarried women to countries around the world to work as professional missionaries.¹ The pages of women’s missionary literature from this era brim with the rhetorical prowess of those involved in the movement. Chronicling the rise of the United States’ largest and most active women’s missionary society, Frances J. Baker’s 436-page volumeThe Story of the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1869–1895, published in 1896, highlighted the dramatic achievements...

  7. THE RISE OF ACADEMIC CONCERN ABOUT AMERICAN CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISM

    • 6 “ATTENTIVE, INTELLIGENT, REASONABLE, AND RESPONSIBLE”: TEACHING COMPOSITION WITH BERNARD LONERGAN
      (pp. 73-88)
      Priscilla Perkins

      Teaching honors classes used to drive me crazy, at least during the first weeks of the semester. Before I returned the first graded writing assignment, I had to steel myself for the grade-grubbery that inevitably followed, a student ritual I called the “Attack of the Killer B Pluses.” Many of the students who enroll in Writing About Ideas, a course for honors students who have transferred from community colleges, have never earned a B before. In my experience honors students are more likely than other students to come into a course so (outwardly) certain of who they are and what...

    • 7 “AIN’T WE GOT FUN?”: TEACHING WRITING IN A VIOLENT WORLD
      (pp. 89-104)
      Elizabeth Vander Lei

      It seemed a simple way to have some fun in the last ten minutes of the first class after spring break. After a short lesson on composing styles, I turned to my students, students in a first-year writing class that I considered one of my best ever, and asked them to create a metaphor for academic writing. I expected, and received, typical metaphors of writing as physical adventure. Most students invoked emotions of fear, anticipation, and exhilaration; most described a concluding moment of satisfaction for a difficult job, done well. Three students, however, told of a different kind of experience....

    • 8 A QUESTION OF TRUTH: READING THE BIBLE, RHETORIC, AND CHRISTIAN TRADITION
      (pp. 105-116)
      Beth Daniell

      On the syllabus for my upper-division rhetoric course is the statement that one goal of the class is to explore is the relationship of language and truth. This topic, I find, very much interests undergraduates. In almost every rhetoric class I’ve taught, as we review the various stances between rhetoric and truth, a student has asked, indirectly or directly, in a response paper or in class discussion or in my office, some version of this question: “If we create truth or knowledge through language, and it’s all persuasion, then how do we know what is right? If rhetoric isn’t conveying...

  8. RHETORIC IN CHRISTIAN TRADITION

    • 9 THE JEWISH CONTEXT OF PAUL’S RHETORIC
      (pp. 119-134)
      Bruce Herzberg

      Paul tells his readers that he was not only Jewish but a Pharisee: “Circumcised on the eighth day, I was born of the race of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrew parents. In the matter of the law, I was a Pharisee” (Philippians 3:5).¹ This statement may sound odd to us, given the generally negative image of the Pharisees in the Gospels, but Paul reveals a pre-Gospel perspective in which the Pharisees are notable for their extensive education and high level of religious observance. The Acts of the Apostles reinforces this view, adding that Paul’s...

    • 10 RESISTANCE TO RHETORIC IN CHRISTIAN TRADITION
      (pp. 135-150)
      Thomas Amorose

      The title of this final chapter may surprise readers, since the preceding chapters ofRenovating Rhetoricshow so many successes for rhetoric at work in Christian tradition. But readers may have noticed that most of the successes documented in these chapters came in the face of resistance by some form of mainstream Christianity. Or they came when classroom instructors developed practices built on a theology espousing opposition to that mainstream status quo. (I am thinking in particular here of Priscilla Perkins and the way her Lonerganian approach to classroom relationships opposes that of her evangelical student, who espouses widely held...

  9. NOTES
    (pp. 151-180)
  10. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 181-198)
  11. CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. 199-202)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 203-211)