Spiritual Modalities: Prayer as Rhetoric and Performance

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Penn State Press, 2012 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 158 pages
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A bold recasting of prayer as a rhetorical art, Spiritual Modalities investigates situations, strategies, and performative modes of discourse directed to divine audiences. Examining how prayer &“works,&” Spiritual Modalities reads prayer&’s situations and strategies, its characteristic acts and attitudes, to advance an understanding of prayer as a basic expression of our rhetorical capacities for communication and communion. This groundbreaking analysis demonstrates how prayer draws on fundamental capacities to engage other beings rhetorically to argue that we are never more human than when we address the nonhuman.

Spiritual Modalities is notable in its aim to articulate a critical rhetoric of prayer in a secular idiom. It draws on contributions to rhetorical theory from Kenneth Burke along with a broad range of classical and contemporary perspectives on audience, address, speech acts, and modes of performance. The book also takes a multicultural and multimodal approach to prayer as rhetorical performance. The texts and practices of prayer represented range across religious traditions and historical eras and include both verbal and physical modes of divine address. The book will be of interest to scholars researching religious language, Burkean approaches to discourse, practices of memory, and media studies.

 

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Contents

Prayer The Rediscovered Country
1
Prayer and Its Situations Meditation on Kairos and Krisis
11
Hear Us O Lord Audience and Address in Communicating with the Divine
31
Invocations of Spirit Prayer as Speech Act
52
The Dance of Attitude Prayer as the Performance of Reverence
71
Performing the Memorare Prayer as a Rhetorical Art of Memory
100
Bodies and Spirits in Virtual Motion Prayer and Delivery in Cyberspace
115
Does Rhetoric Have a Prayer?
131
Notes to Chapter 3
140
Notes to Chapter 4
141
Notes to Chapter 5
142
Notes to Chapter 6
143
Works Cited
145
Index
153
COVER Back
159
Copyright

Notes to Introduction
139

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About the author (2012)

William FitzGerald is Assistant Professor of English at Rutgers University.

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