Locating the roots of the plain style in secular and philosophic classicism, Auksi examines theories on classical rhetoric from Demetrius and Dionysius of Halicarnassus to Cicero and Quintilian. He shows how biblicists deliberately transformed a heathen mode, and demonstrates that rhetoric served a pragmatic function among the church fathers. He also discusses the different responses of Renaissance translators, rhetors, polemicists, and humanists to the stylized medieval inheritance, paying particular attention to the issue of sacred plainness in preaching. The epilogue provides a convincing argument for the decline of the plain style in the late seventeenth century and describes how the almost vanished ideal of plainness was transformed by Methodists, Quakers, Mennonites, Amish, and Hutterites.
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