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The Expedient, The Honorable, And The Sacred: Rhetorical Topoi And The Religious Imperative

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Chapter Summary

Wolfe's commentary should alert us to the rhetorical overlap between the honorable or valuable and the expedient or practical. And as all of us who have studied political rhetoric know, sooner or later the two orientations coalesce or conflict, and quite often the interaction is subtle and interesting. This chapter explores this relationship and considers how it is complicated when religious principles are added to the equation. It examines some case studies in the oratorical tradition that move back from George Bush to Pericles and from there forward to Abraham Lincoln. The chapter attempts to apply lessons learned from the two authorities - the novelist Tom Wolfe and the classicist Harvey Yunis. The chapter concludes with the hope that this paper the expedient, the honorable, and the sacred may help spark a conversation about the complex relationship between religion and the traditional topics of rhetorical deliberation.

Keywords: Harvey Yunis; rhetorical deliberation; Tom Wolfe



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