The Rhetoric of Homiletics: Preaching, Persuasion, and the Cappadocian Fathers
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This dissertation investigates the rhetoric of preaching. The project entails understanding and overcoming pejorative perspectives of rhetoric and limited perspectives of preaching that imbue public discourse, scholarship on homiletics, and historical accounts of preaching and preachers. This dissertation focuses on the fourth-century homilies of the Cappadocian Fathers (Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa). The argument is made that preaching is profoundly rhetorical in nature, both practically and theoretically. Three internal chapters support this argument and construct this dissertation as both a rhetorical history and a rhetorical criticism research project. Chapter One introduces the aims, perspectives, and approaches of the project. Chapter Two presents broad and specific historical context necessary for understanding the rhetorical insights, arguments, and theories advanced in the subsequent chapters. Chapter Three illustrates in fine detail some of the practical implications of acknowledging the rhetorical nature of preaching and preachers. Chapter Four further pursues the theoretical corollary of the argument by establishing the deeply rhetorical origins of the preaching role and form. Chapter Five summarizes the findings, contributions, and limitations of this dissertation and outlines directions for future research. Combined, these chapters comprise a dissertation that is intended to enrich scholars’ and practitioners’ knowledge of the relationship between rhetoric and homiletics.
Riley, Catherine Lorelei (2015). The Rhetoric of Homiletics: Preaching, Persuasion, and the Cappadocian Fathers. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from