An analysis of the elements of rhetorical art in the pulpit speaking of Dr. Clarence Edward Macartney
Baptist, Louis Alee
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The purpose of this paper is to investigate the speaking career of Dr. Clarence Edward Macartney and to analyze his sermons to discover the use of the elements of his rhetorical art. In order to do this, several areas of his rhetorical background and practice were investigated: (1) the experiences, persons, and training that influenced his development as a speaker; (2) the sources of evidence and the use of it (reasoning); (3) the motivational appeals employed in his sermons; (4) the characteristic elements of his style, or language usage, such as appropriateness, embellishment, and clearness or simplicity; (5) the significant features of his delivery; and (6) his speech preparation both general and specific. Sermons printed in books of sermons by Macartney were the main sources analyzed in this study. Dr. Macartney dictated his sermons to a typist before delivery so the published versions are as nearly like the delivered versions as can be expected. Dr. Macartney’s speech biography was reported. Those incidents of his life that influenced his public speaking career and practice make up the largest part of the information in that section. The sermons analyzed revealed these facts: (1) there was always a central theme upon which the sermon was constructed; (2) the organization of the sermons was, in every case, the modern adaption of the classical design of three parts--Introduction, Discussion (or Body), and Conclusion; (3) the body of the sermon was arranged according to several different plans--the divisions of a Bible text, specific cases to illustrate the theme, implications arising from the proposition, et cetera; (4) the Introductions varied greatly as to length, form and content, and usually indicated the main points of the body; (5) the Conclusions usually pressed home theses and made personal application and appeal for action upon the propositions. In matters of style it was discovered that the use of figurative language and appropriate language were distinctive features. Tropes and figures such as epanaphora and erotesis (types of repetition), figurative analogy, personification, and literary allusions were prominent throughout the sermons studied. Dr. Macartney's speech preparation was discovered to be very deliberate, purposeful, and thorough. Items such as the collecting of materials on a wide range of subjects; the insistence upon a clear theme before writing, and outline plans were discussed. Preaching without notes of any kind was the distinctive feature of Macartney's delivery. His pulpit manner and well-controlled voice were also items discussed under this topic. The use of illustrative material of various types--quotes from literature, historical incidents, biographical studies, Biblical characters, etc. was reported. Dr. Macartney used this material to develop, amplify, and adorn his themes. This material was used in both logical and emotional development. A summary and conclusions are included in this paper.