Abstract: While accounts of Renaissance rhetoric have recently begun to consider the work of Martin Luther, understanding of Luther's preaching strategies depends on detailed scrutiny of his sermons. A careful investigation of the language of a Luther sermon, in consideration of the rhetorical intent and context in which the work was developed, reveals a speaker striving to engage an audience. As a critical concept more pervasive than traditional notions of elocutio, the paradigmatic concept of "style" offered here draws from Burke and Perelman/Olbrechts-Tyteca to show how rhetorical devices ("figures") advance the argument and how the audience is intended to apprehend the meaning and action ("form") of the discourse. Coherent analysis of contextual, thematic, and structural features of Luther's sermon text shows style a primary rather than derivative feature of rhetorical criticism.
- Copyright 1994, The International Society for the History of Rhetoric