Faithful Persuasion: In Aid of a Rhetoric of Christian Theology

Overview

Over the past twenty years, scholars in a wide variety of academic disciplines have been giving increasing attention to rhetoric - the study of persuasive argument. In Faithful Persuasion David S. Cunningham offers the contemporary era's first sustained account of the relationship between rhetoric and Christian theology. Cunningham argues that Christian thinkers should abandon their attempts to codify argumentation within the canons of formal logic and suggests that they should instead come to a more organic ...
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Overview

Over the past twenty years, scholars in a wide variety of academic disciplines have been giving increasing attention to rhetoric - the study of persuasive argument. In Faithful Persuasion David S. Cunningham offers the contemporary era's first sustained account of the relationship between rhetoric and Christian theology. Cunningham argues that Christian thinkers should abandon their attempts to codify argumentation within the canons of formal logic and suggests that they should instead come to a more organic understanding of the process of persuasion. This rhetorical approach to theology can cast new light on longstanding theological controversies and establish a new agenda for the study of the methods, sources, and norms of Christian theology. Drawing chiefly upon the rhetorical insights of Aristotle, and on the reappropriation of Aristotle's views by numerous modern rhetoricians - ranging from John Henry Newman to Kenneth Burke and Chaim Perelman - Cunningham establishes a firm foundation from which to support his central assertion that "Christian theology can best be understood as a form of persuasive argument." In addition, he explores the implications of a rhetorical method for studies in doctrinal formulation, biblical exegesis, and church history. Written for theologians, clergy members, and laypeople with a strong interest in theology, this book will introduce readers to the richness of the rhetorical tradition and its important implications for the discipline of Christian theology.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780268009854
  • Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1993
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.03 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: Speaking About the Unknowable 1
1 Theoria: Theology and Rhetoric 8
The Varieties of Classical Rhetoric 9
The Death and Resurrection of Rhetoric 19
The Rhetorical Nature of Theology 30
2 Pathos: The World to Which Theology Speaks 42
Persuasion of the Audience 44
The Disappearance of the Audience in Modern Theology 52
A Rhetorical Account of the Audience 68
Constructing the Audience of Christian Theology 82
Cathechesis as a Rhetorical Activity 95
3 Ethos: The Character With Which Theology Speaks 98
Character in Rhetoric and Theology 100
How Does Character Persuade? 112
The Elements of Character 126
Conversion as a Rhetorical Activity 146
4 Logos: The Word Which Theology Speaks 148
A Critique of Pure Logic 149
Expanding the Range of Argumentation 164
The Sources of Christian Theology 180
Revelation and Proclamation as Rhetorical Activities 200
5 Praxis: Theology as Rhetoric 204
Doctrine as Persuasive Argument 206
Biblical Exegesis as Persuasive Argument 219
Rhetorical History and Christian Theology 238
Christian Theology as a Rhetorical Activity 252
Unconcluding Rhetorical Postscript: Theology as Faithful Persuasion 255
Notes 259
Index of Names 295
Index of Subjects 301
Index of Scriptural Citations 311
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