Foul Demons, Come Out! The Rhetoric of Twentieth-Century American Faith Healing

Foul Demons, Come Out! The Rhetoric of Twentieth-Century American Faith Healing

Foul Demons, Come Out! The Rhetoric of Twentieth-Century American Faith Healing

Foul Demons, Come Out! The Rhetoric of Twentieth-Century American Faith Healing

Synopsis

Pullum accounts for the persuasive appeals of some of the most popular American healing evangelists of this century and establishes a rhetorical genre of faith healing discourse. For each, he discusses their background, the nature of the audiences to whom they preached, and why they were so successful. Pullum concludes by drawing together the major rhetorical features of faith-healing discourse.

Excerpt

This book is about rhetoric. To the uninitiated, the term rhetoric is ambiguous and confusing. For some it symbolizes empty speech and conjures up the image of a lying politician bent on securing votes by promising more than he or she is able, or intends, to deliver.

One of the earliest definitions of rhetoric is offered by the Greek philosopher Aristotle, who wrote on the subject over twenty-four hundred years ago. He suggests that it is "the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion" (Rhetoric 24). in the same vein, contemporary scholars Brock, Scott, and Chesebro define rhetoric as "the human effort to induce cooperation through the use of symbols" (14). Although they admit that this definition "gives rise to troublesome questions of inclusion and exclusion," (14) at the bottom is the notion of social influence or persuasion. Rhetoric, then, involves symbolic inducement, or persuasion through symbols, whether verbal or nonverbal, spoken or written.

Rhetorical critics are those who study the persuasive discourse of others, be they politicians, pundits, or preachers. Andrews suggests that rhetorical criticism is "the systematic process of illuminating and . . .

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