Rhetorical Strategies: The Art of Persuasion

Stephen Murray

in A Gothic Sermon

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780520238473
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930070 | DOI:
Rhetorical Strategies: The Art of Persuasion

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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The preacher appears at times to be engaged in parody. He gently hoots his ecclesiastical colleagues with facetious references to the figure of authority and the gratuitous parsing of a biblical phrase as part of his program of collusion. The preacher worships the church as a powerful salvific machine working on behalf of the repentant sinner, clearly anticipating a certain level of anticlericalism on the part of his lay audience, and carefully indicating his sympathy. The most dramatic illustration of his paradoxically contradictory stance is his approach to oaths and swearing. The preacher alters an engaging self-consciousness about his own role in relation to the audience, occasionally poking fun at himself. The members of the audience might look around to take stock of the fullness or emptiness of the space, even counting the numbers of the assembled flock.

Keywords: parody; colleagues; audience; repentant sinner; oaths

Chapter.  2019 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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