A journal of academic theology

Kevin G. Grove

Rhetoric and Reality: Augustine and Pope Francis on Preaching Christ and the Poor

In an age when rhetoric about alleviating conditions of poverty is rightly suspect, this
study offers a reassessment of the power of non-modern, christological rhetoric through
parallel examples of the preaching of Augustine and Pope Francis. Demonstrating how
both practice a version of prosopopeia, this study shows how Augustine’s “exchange”
and Francis’s “encounter” function as performative Christologies by which rhetoric
is meant to effect reality concerning the poor. The study suggests revision of
binary formulations of the relation of rhetoric to reality and proposes a non-binary,
incarnational method.

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