Contemporary Apocalyptic Rhetoric

Contemporary Apocalyptic Rhetoric

Contemporary Apocalyptic Rhetoric

Contemporary Apocalyptic Rhetoric

Synopsis

Certain questions naturally arise about those who literally expect the end of the world in our time: Why do they think this? Why do some people believe them? How do their exhortations work to persuade an audience and to mobilize that audience to actions and commitments? These are the motivating questions of this unique volume, which describes apocalyptic as a rhetorical genre of discourse. Brummett first recasts insights drawn from past scholarly and theological studies to feature their relevance to contemporary apocalyptic, then examines a variety of "real" apocalyptic to illustrate the ways in which these rhetorical discourses actually work.

Excerpt

Early in this project, an editor asked me why I became interested in the subject. The question took me aback; I had not really thought about it. But upon further reflection, I think my interest stems from a fascination-sometimes a horrified one -- with people who are willing to take the public risks that apocalyptic rhetors take: to claim special knowledge of a hidden order, to advise others to make great sacrifices on the basis of that knowledge, even to predict specific times and places for the end of the world. This book is an attempt to explain what it does for those rhetors, and for their audiences, to take such risks.

Perhaps I also feel a certain affinity for them, given the riskiness of setting out to write a book. Here I would like to thank my colleagues, Professor Kurt Ritter, of Texas A&M, and Professor Lloyd Rohler, of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, for sharing my interest in apocalyptic rhetoric and for their ongoing suggestions. The Reverend Doctor Reid Trulson was a great help in calling apocalyptic materials to my attention. Professor Margaret Carlisle Duncan read early drafts of some chapters and gave me wise advice. As always, Professor Robert L. Scott continues to be a source of advice and wisdom, and of inspiration even when he is not advising. To these and other colleague's and friends, thanks.

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