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There are many books on Sacred Rhetoric, Homiletics, and Biblical Oratory. But these generally have been
discussions of theology and rules for sermonizing, originated and propounded by great theologians and successful preachers on the science and art of pulpit delivery and pastoral duties. Invariably they have been treaties based upon their own experiences and those of others whom they had observed, rather than upon the Bible itself.
The products of these works have resulted
in what has been termed the theological or ministerial style, which is a correct name for an uncalled for department of Rhetorical style.
This thesis is presentation of the oratory found in the Bible itself. It does not purpose to be a discussion of the general art of Rhetoric and Oratory.
great authorities have written upon this subject from Aristotle to O'Neill and have done the task well. Neither is this paper to be a treatise on Homiletics or a discussion of the rules and principles of Sacred Oratory.
It is the purpose of this treatise (1) to select all those speeches in the Bible that fill the requirements for a complete public speech situation, (2) to note the speakers, occasions, and approximate time of the various
speeches, (3) to classify the speeches, (4) to discuss the general style, (5) and to tabulate the most important
Figures of Speech used.
It is my opinion that such a work is vitally needed, especially in the training and education of the Christian ministry. No book has ever appeared that purports to
afford any such material.
It is hoped to be made useful
as a source book of models of Christian preaching, as well as an aid to help the interested Christian layman, whose knowledge of the materials and methods of preaching can only be very general, to have a collection of original models by which he can measure that which he hears from the pulpit. It will also be of interest to the general Rhetorician in that it contains public speeches delivered as long ago as the nineteenth century B.C.
To the best of my knowledge, every speech given fills the requirements of a complete public speech situation, namely, specific occasion, speaker, and an audience to be affected. A very large portion of the Bible is the report of orations, or mayhap written speeches which may or may not ever have been delivered. The narrative makes us acquainted with the speaker, describes quite fully sometimes, the occasion, and often gives a very concise report of the speech, estimating its effect on the people at the time
and on subsequent history.
Such are the books of the
prophets and the epistles of Paul and others of the
apostles. In this collection of one hundred and one Public Speeches of the Bible, I have, however, excluded many of these apparent speeches, because they are not clearly expressed in the record as fulfilling public speech situations.
The classification used is that of Professor J. M. O'Neill, Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory, University of Wisconsin, in his Models of Speech Composition. I think
dt is the best that can be made and have found that the speeches contained in the Bible fall quite conveniently into this classification while it would be impossible to so wrest them as to make them conform to the classifications given in Homiletics tests; which are very seldom, if ever, scientific or practical. Of course it
is true that the classification I have made is not absolute. Some speeches may be interchanged as to classes, but I have placed them in that class which according to their dominant purpose and sometimes the occasion, seems to me the most reasonable.
The title "The Public Speeches of the Bible" was chosen in preference to such titles as "The Oratory of the Bible", or, "Sacred Rhetoric, or Oratory", or,