Rhetoric. What does this word make you think of? Ancient men in togas? Sneaky politicians? Perhaps a smooth-talking pastor?
Is rhetoric even useful if you don’t plan to pursue a career in public speaking?
We would argue that yes, it is absolutely useful and relevant. Not only is it important to understand the tools of rhetoric so that they are less likely to be used against you, but in studying this ancient art of persuasion, you have the power to be a force for good in today’s increasingly dark world. Rhetoric isn’t just the public speaker’s skill or the bad guy’s tool.
We teach that there are two primary types of rhetoric: one is a rhetoric of domination; the other, a rhetoric of love. A rhetoric of domination aims to exert power over an audience through manipulation. This manipulation can come in the form of seduction or threat.
A rhetoric of love, in contrast, aims to liberate an audience to pursue the good. A rhetoric of love respects the God-given faculties of an audience. It works to present appeals that persuade over the long term. It honors the image of God in the listener.
Play the video below to hear Veritas Scholars Academy teacher and author of A Rhetoric of Love 2, Michael Collender, discuss this concept further in his TEDx Talk:
Are you curious how your student (or even you yourself) can grow through studying the art and skill of rhetoric from a Christian perspective? You can dive deeper into rhetoric through these resources:
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