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Scriptural Elocutio In Seventeenth-Century England

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores the convergence of rhetoric, religion, politics, hermeneutics, and pedagogy in late seventeenth century English of elocutio in Scripture, the arguments about elocutio, and the place of rhetoric in understanding the Bible. Rhetoricians from the classical period onwards struggled with the theoretical problem of just when an unacceptable vice of grammar became a virtue of rhetorical elocutio. This problem takes new form in the seventeenth century as biblical commentators struggled to discriminate between the literal and the figurative in Scripture. In some cases, rhetorical theory about elocutio was used to shape or justify doctrinal understandings, and in other cases, political and religious commitments instead shaped rhetorical theory.

Keywords: classical elocutio; scriptural elocutio; seventeenth century



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