By Stephen D. O'Leary
Apocalyptic expectancies of Armageddon and a brand new Age were a fixture of the yankee cultural panorama for hundreds of years. With the method of the 12 months 2000, such millennial visions look once more to be expanding in acceptance. Stephen O'Leary sheds new gentle at the age-old phenomenon of the tip of the Age by means of presenting a rhetorical cause of the attraction of millennialism. utilizing examples of apocalyptic argument from historic to trendy instances, O'Leary identifies the routine styles in apocalyptic texts and routine and indicates how and why the Christian Apocalypse has been used to help a number of political stances and courses. The ebook concludes with a severe assessment of the new appearances of doomsday situations in our politics and tradition, and a meditation at the importance of the Apocalypse within the nuclear age. Arguing the Apocalypse is the main thorough exam of its topic thus far: a learn of a ignored bankruptcy of our spiritual and cultural background, a consultant to the politics of Armageddon, and a map of millennial awareness.
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Additional info for Arguing the Apocalypse: A Theory of Millennial Rhetoric
Chapter 4 presents a rhetorical history of Millerism, showing how persuasive strategies and themes varied as one man's biblical speculations grew into a movement with tens of thousands of followers. Chapter 5 turns to a close textual analysis of Millerite apocalyptic argument, focusing on the persuasive pamphlets, books, letters, and newspapers produced and disseminated by William Miller and his followers in the years 18321848. The analysis demonstrates how the pattern of Millerite arguments addresses the apocalyptic topoi of authority, time, and evil, and how this pattern was itself affected by the flow of historical time.
82 Immediately obvious, and significant for this analysis, is that these questions are not independent of each other, but develop in a hierarchical sequence. Determination of fact is logically prior to the question of definition, which must in turn be resolved before quality can become an issue; finally, all three questions must be resolved before judgment is rendered or action taken. 83 Stasis theory is, therefore, not a static conception useful only for the classification of arguments, but a dynamic conception that enables critics to track and predict the evolution of argumentative form as controversy moves from one stage to the next.
A thing which is other than it should be"65 implicitly characterizes all rhetoric in terms of the problems of evil and time. The apparent omnipresence of such "defects" furnishes humanity with endless exigences for deliberative rhetoric. " A world seen as inherently imperfect invites discourse that makes sense of imperfection by reasserting the principle of perfection, locating the cause of the flaw, positing some mechanism of redemption, and orienting human beings in some fashion so that they may participate in (or at least take a proper stance toward) cosmic renewal.
Arguing the Apocalypse: A Theory of Millennial Rhetoric by Stephen D. O'Leary