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date: 23 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter addresses the complex relationship of Augustine of Hippo with the tradition of classical rhetoric in which he had been educated and in which he excelled. It shows that, despite his ostentatious rejection of rhetoric in the Confessions, he never entirely abandoned the rhetorical precepts of Cicero, especially the principle that rhetoric should “teach, delight, and move” its audience. In Augustine’s advice to preachers, however, this Ciceronian triad was subsumed in the urgent need to communicate the word of God: immersion in Holy Scripture and a morally upright life could also be modes of communication. The chapter ends with an analysis of a specific sermon to show Augustine’s characteristic blend of the ideal and pragmatic in his forceful, direct preaching style. Parataxis, biblical quotation, direct address, dialogue with an imagined interlocutor—all are employed to move his congregation to action.

Keywords: rhetoric, Augustine, Cicero, preaching, homiletics, education, dialogue, parataxis, Holy Scripture, rhetorical precepts

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