It seemed to me that Augustine was simple substituting the word eloquence in the place of rhetoric – I find it difficult to separate the two. He defines rhetoric as an art where “both truth and falsehood are pleaded” and later speaks of eloquence’s power “in pleading either for the erroneous cause or the right”. However, I thought perhaps by doing this he was trying to redirect the general use and understanding of eloquence – and ultimately rhetoric – as indeed a means of furthering a Christian perspective. He continually tries to present the idea that to speak eloquently one must be of an honest and faithful disposition. This gives the impression that Christianity is the power behind rhetorical abilities – and he subtly leads readers to this same understanding by presenting the idea of rhetoric in disguise – namely, as eloquence.
Maybe we could view this as a Contact Zone, as discussed in Bizzell’s essay, because of the contending forces that seem to permeate Augustine’s time. Growing up even, Augustine own family is described as having held two opposing views – his mother being a Christian and his father a Pagan. I found it interesting that Augustine himself was originally of a Manichaean view that “the world [is] governed by two equal, struggling forces or good and evil”, and only later converts to Christianity. Once on the side of Christianity, it appears that Augustine is working tirelessly to confirm the foundation of rhetorical discourse as springing from religious convictions. His influence is great in the evolution of the discipline because he ties rhetorical discourse to religion and strengthens the idea that the speaker must come from a place of truth in their discourse – and for Augustine, that truth is Christianity.
Kristen, I really enjoyed your comparison of Bacon to all of our regular scholarly work – I could see that in his writing once I read your post. This might be why it didn’t seem to me that he was refuting Classical thinking, but, as Norma also explained, may have been continuation of their mode of thinking. He ties Logic and Rhetoric together showing how they complement the other, how “Logic handleth reason exact and in truth, and Rhetoric handleth it as it is planted in popular opinions and manners”, bringing the two notions into closer relation than we’ve been reading. So, maybe he isn’t completely re-shifting the Classical paradigm, but he is certainly proposing an evolution of notions.