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Persuasions of God: Inventing the Rhetoric of René Girard (Rsa Transdisciplinary Rhetoric)

Persuasions of God: Inventing the Rhetoric of René Girard (Rsa Transdisciplinary Rhetoric)

Current price: $129.94
Publication Date: February 20th, 2024
Penn State University Press


The nations of the global north find themselves in a post-secular or post-Christian period, one in which the practice, expression, and effects of religion are undergoing massive shifts. In Persuasions of God, Paul Lynch pursues a project of "theorhetoric," a radical new approach to speaking about the divine.

Searching for new religious forms amid the lingering influence of Christianity, Lynch turns to Ren Girard, the most important twentieth-century thinker on the sacred and its expression within the Christian tradition. Lynch repurposes Girard's mimetic theory to invent a post-Christian way of speaking to, for, and especially about God. Girard theorized the sacred as the nexus of violence, order, and sacralization that lies at the heart of religion. What Lynch advocates in our current moment of religious kairos is a paradoxically meek rhetoric that conscientiously refuses rivalry, actively exploits tradition through complicit invention, and boldly seeks a holiness free of exclusionary violence. The project of theorhetoric is to reinvent God through the reimagined themes of meekness, sacrifice, atonement, and holiness. From these, Persuasions of God offers religion reimagined for our post-secular age.

An interdisciplinary mix of philosophy, sociology, rhetorical studies, and theology, this book draws on mimetic theory to answer the question of where religion goes next. It will be valued by religious studies and communications scholars as well as anyone interested in the future of Christianity in our modern world.

About the Author

Paul Lynch is Associate Professor of English at Saint Louis University. He is the author of After Pedagogy: The Experience of Teaching and a coeditor of Rhetoric and Religion in the Twenty-First Century: Pluralism in a Postsecular Age and Thinking with Bruno Latour in Rhetoric and Composition.