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Catholic Particularity in Seventeenth-Century French Writing'Christianity is Strange'$
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Richard Parish

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199596669

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199596669.001.0001

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Particularity and Language (ii): Talking for God

Particularity and Language (ii): Talking for God

(p.89) 4 Particularity and Language (ii): Talking for God
Catholic Particularity in Seventeenth-Century French Writing

Richard Parish

Oxford University Press

The chapter is again divided into two parts. The first deals with the question of rhetoric and pulpit oratory, as successive generations of Christian teachers grapple with the inadequacies of “fallen” language, and do so in distinction to the simplicity and eloquence of Christ and the apostles. The notorious wager fragment of Pascal is examined in this perspective, as well as the extensive corpus of pulpit oratory delivered by Bossuet, in particular with reference to the model of St Paul. The second part explores the manifestations of divine utterance recorded in the spiritual autobiographers of the period, whose exponents claim not only to write under inspiration, but indeed to receive direct communication from God.

Keywords:   rhetoric, Christ, apostles, Pascal's wager, fallen language, pulpit oratory, Bossuet, St Paul, autobiography, inspiration

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