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Rhetoric in the Monastic Tradition

A Textual Study

John P. Bequette

Rhetoric in the Monastic Tradition presents a series of «test cases» in rhetorical theory. John P. Bequette explores several important texts from the Western monastic tradition through the lens of ancient rhetoric, using the figures and topica of the Roman rhetorical tradition to exposit the texts in all their depth. This tradition, filtered through Augustine’s De Doctrina Christiana, provides a useful hermeneutic to unlock the inexhaustible riches of the texts that comprise the monastic tradition from 500 to 1100 A.D. Each chapter focuses on a specific text to understand the relationship between human language and divine revelation as expressed by the monastic author in question. Texts include the Rule of St. Benedict, Bede’s Advent Homily on Mark 1:4-8, Anselm’s Letter to Lanzo, Peter Damian’s The Book of «The Lord Be with You,» and sermons thirty-five through thirty-eight of Bernard of Clairvaux’s Sermons on the Song of Songs.