It is a commonplace that rhetoric originally meant something almost diametrically opposed to the way it is carelessly considered today -- a refined and honored art of compelling and noble persuasion rather than its modern popular connotation of crafty manipulation or propaganda. George Kennedy's study is all that could be desired in a concise analysis and history of rhetoric in the former sense. Beginning with the classical Greek world's application of this art to public oratory and Aristotle's refinement of its definition, this study then follows its course through the Bible, the Fathers, the Byzantine and Latin Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and its treatment by modern theoreticians. Why study rhetoric? We'll let St. Augustine (quoted in Kennedy) answer: ''While the faculty of eloquence, which is of great value in urging either evil or justice, is in itself indifferent, why should it not be obtained for the uses of the good in the service of truth, if the evil usurp it for the winning of perverse and vain causes in defense of iniquity and error?''
An Eighth Day View:
Since its original publication by UNC Press in 1980, this book has provided thousands of students with a concise introduction and guide to the history of the classical tradition in rhetoric, the ancient but ever vital art of persuasion.
Now, George Kennedy offers a thoroughly revised and updated edition of "Classical Rhetoric and Its Christian and Secular Tradition." From its development in ancient Greece and Rome, through its continuation and adaptation in Europe and America through the Middle Ages and Renaissance, to its enduring significance in the twentieth century, he traces the theory and practice of classical rhetoric through history. At each stage of the way, he demonstrates how new societies modified classical rhetoric to fit their needs.
For this edition, Kennedy has updated the text and the bibliography to incorporate new scholarship; added sections relating to women orators and rhetoricians throughout history; and enlarged the discussion of rhetoric in America, Germany, and Spain. He has also included more information about historical and intellectual contexts to assist the reader in understanding the tradition of classical rhetoric.