browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.


Week 1: Introduction to the Course
Aug. 24
In Defense of Rhetoric

Week 2: What is Rhetoric and Rhetorical Study?
New Approaches to Rhetorical History and Criticism
Aug. 29
Booth, Wayne . Ch 1 and 2 from The Rhetoric of Rhetoric
“How Many Rhetorics”  3-23
“A Condensed History of Rhetorical Studies” p. 23-39
The Viability of the Rhetorical Tradition
Ch 1“Revisionist Historiography and Rhetorical Tradition(s)” by Richard Graff and Michael Leff, p. 11-31
Study Question: What are the contexts in which you’ve heard the term rhetoric?  How do the methods described in the reading compare to the research methods of your home discipline? What is compelling and or confusing about the concept of historiography?
Recommended Further Reading:
Definition of Classical and Comparative Rhetoric from Sloan’s Encyclopedia of Rhetoric
The Viability of the Rhetorical Tradition
Ch 4,“De-Canonizing Ancient Rhetoric” 61-75 by Robert N. Gaines
Rhetoric Before and Beyond the Greeks

Aug. 31
Lipson, Carol S. Introduction to Ancient Non-Greek Rhetorics (2009) p. 3-36
Kennedy, “Rhetoric in Greece and Rome” Ch 9 p191-214
Edelman, Samuel. “Ancient Traditions, Modern Needs: An Introduction to Jewish Rhetoric.” Journal of Communication and Religion 26 (2003) 113-125
Short Writing Response Due 
Study Question: What is similar and different in these rhetorical traditions? What are some of the pathways of interconnection or disconnect?
Recommended Further Reading:
Rhetoric Before and Beyond the Greeks
Introduction p. 1-21 by Lipson and Binkley;
Kennedy, George A. Comparative Rhetoric: An Historical and Cross-Cultural Introduction 1-7
Kennedy, George A. Classical Rhetoric and Its Christian and Secular Tradition: From Ancient to Modern Times,
Ch 1 “Traditional and Conceptual Rhetoric” p. 1-15
Ch 2 “Progymnasmata” p. 20-29
Ch 3 “Sophistic Rhetoric”  p.29-50
Murphy, James J. “Conducting Research in the History of Rhetoric: An Open Letter to a Future Historian of Rhetoric.”187-196. Print.
Falk, Erica. “Jewish Laws of Speech: Toward Multicultural Rhetoric.”  Howard Journal of Communication 10.1 (1999) 15-28

Week 3: Big Daddy A’s Rhetoric
Sept. 5

Aristotle’s Rhetoric, Book I. p.1-110

Sept. 7
Aristotle’s Rhetoric, Book I. p.1-110
Study Question:  What is rhetoric? Why would Aristotle bother to define it?  And to define it as he does?
Available online:  <>
Short Writing Response Due
Recommended Further Reading:
Eric Havelock, Preface to Plato (ch 1-4, p -87)
Ch 2 “Between Poetics and Rhetoric” p. 31-57

Week 4: Big Daddy A’s Rhetoric Continued
Sept. 12 Haskins, Ekaterina. Logos and Power in Isocrates and Aristotle.
Introduction 1-10
Ch 1 “Between Orality and Literacy” p. 10-31
Study Question:  How does Haskins characterize the differences/similarities of Isocrates and Aristotle?
Short Writing Response Due

Sept. 14
Aristotle’s Rhetoric, Book II.
Short Writing Response Due 
Discussion Continued
Study Question: Why does rhetoric need psychology?
Recommended Further Reading:
Aristotle, The Poetics, Book III
Kennedy, George A. The Art of Persuasion in Greece.
Ch. 3 “Early Rhetorical Theory Corax to Aristotle”  p 52-114

*EXTRA CREDIT OPPORTUNITY: DR. David Shneer, Louis P. Singer Endowed Chair in Jewish History, Chair of the Department of Religious Studies, and Professor of History, Religious Studies and Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder will present “From Saving Soviet Jews to Being Saved by Them: The Future of the Global Jewish World”
Hilary J. Boone Center, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Week 5: Arguing With G-d

Sept. 19
Deuteronomy (Devarim, lit. “words”). P.814-985 Fox translation
Study Question:  What obliges us to be persuaded?  Is there a rhetoric of hearing as well as a rhetoric of speaking?
Short Writing Response Due

Recommended Further Reading:
Metzger, David.  “Pentateuchal Rhetoric and the Voice of the Aaronides” (PDF). p.165-181

If you’re not observing the holiday, use this time to start thinking about/drafting the mid-term and to catch-up or get ahead of reading in this and your other classes.

Week 6: Philosophy vs. Rhetoric
Sept. 26
Charney, Davida. “Introduction to Persuading God: Rhetorical Studies of First-Person Psalms” (PDF) p. 1-16
Psalm  116 and 22
Charney, Davida. “Performativity and Persuasion in the Hebrew Book of Psalms: A Rhetorical Analysis of Psalms 116 and 22”
RSQ (2010) 40:3 247-268.

Introduce Critical Precis Assignment
Short Writing Response Due 
Study Question: What do arguments to G-d tells us about arguments between people?
Recommended Further Reading:
Zulick, Margaret, “The Normative, the Proper, and the Sublime: Notes on the Use of Figure and Emotion in Prophetic Argument” Argumentation 12: 481–492, 1998.
Gitay, Yehoshua. Isaiah and His Audience. Assen, Netherlands: Van Gorcum, 1991.
___. “Prophetic Criticism—‘What Are They Doing?’: The Case of Isaiah—A Methodological Assessment” JSOT 96 (2001) pp. 101-27.
Sternberg, Meir “The Bible’s Art of Persuasion: Ideology, Rhetoric, and Poetics in Saul’s Fall” , HUCA54 (1983): 45-82.
Zulick, Margaret D.  “The Active Force of Hearing: The Ancient Hebrew Language of Persuasion.” Rhetorica  10.4. (Autumn 1992): 367-380

Sept. 28
Discussion of Charney Continued
Mid-term Review distributed

Mid-term Questions due to Canvas by 8am

Recommended Further Reading
Boyarin, Daniel.  Socrates and the Fat Rabbis (2009).
Ch  3:  “ ‘Confound Seriousness with Laughter’: On Monological  and Dialogical Reading—The Gorgias” p. 81-133.

Week 7—Mid-term Check-in
Tues. Oct. 3

Gorgias’s Encomium to Helen (in your Aristotle edition, appendix) p. 251-256

 Mid-term review Completed/Due in class

Study Question:  What is the relationship between “philosophy” and “story”?  What is rhetoric if we understand it as a story?  What is rhetoric if we understand it as philosophy?
Mid-term Take-Home Essay Questions Distributed

EXTRA CREDIT OPPORTUNITIES: Michael Twitty, author of The Cooking Gene
2nd: Book Signing and Reading – Wild Fig Books –6:00-8:00pm
3rd Cooking Demonstration/class for students–email Dr. Jan to register – 3:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Public Lecture William T. Young Library Auditorium, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Thurs. Oct. 5

Critical Precis due to Canvas

By this point, everyone should have written and turned in 1 short writing response paper and 1 critical precis.

Week 8: Contrastive and Comparative Methods
Mid-term Quiz in Class

Critical Precis Returned

Oct. 12

Mid-term Essay due in Class
Specific Writing Prompts for Final Essay Distributed

Week 9: Defining Knowledge Through Dialectic

Focus on Writing
Fernheimer, Janice W.  “Talmidae Rhetoricae: Drashing up Models and Methods for Jewish Rhetorical Studies” College English p. 577-589
Holdstein, Deborah. “The Ironies of Ethos.” JAC 2000 (20:4): 942-948.
Study Question: What is Ironic about Ethos? What can you deduce about methods for Jewish Rhetorics (or other Rhetorical traditions) from these readings?
Methods and Semester Long Writing Project
Inventio for questions to consider

Thurs. Oct. 19
Library session on Research

Revised Final Assignment Distributed

Location:  William T. Young Library, Room 1-57
Instruction Librarian:  Jen Bartlett

Week 10
Oct. 24

Scholarly summary workshop–discussion of Charney’s essay
Study Questions:

EXTRA CREDIT OPPORTUNITY: Dr. Noam Pianko presents, “The Politics of American Zionism”

7pm Hilary J. Boone Center
Oct. 26
Citation and Attribution Workshop  OWL workshop on MLA

Works Cited: A Quick Guide

Week 11: 
Oct. 31
What’s Love Got to Do With It?
Song of Songs trans. Bloch and Bloch p. 1-116
Study Question:  How are beauty and love defined in this text? How do they set up a “rhetoric” of lover’s discourse?
Identify and summarize one scholarly work for your final assignment

Nov. 2

Revised Critical Precis Due

Song of Songs continued
Study Question:
 Recommended Further Reading
Susan Handelman, Slayers of Moses. Ch 1-2  p. 3-50 “Greek Philosophy and the Overcoming of the Word,” “Rabbinic Thought: The Divinity of the Text”
Daube, David. “Rabbinic Methods of Interpretation and Hellenistic Rhetoric” HUCA  22 1949  239-264
Proposal Feedback Returned
Study Question: How is Hellenistic rhetoric defined? Is it a useful term?

Week 12: Focus on Context/ Reading
Nov. 7
Kinneavy, James.  Greek Rhetorical Origins of the Christian Faith.
Section Three
“The Historical Argument a Probability”  56-94
Hellenistic Culture in Palestine
Hellenistic Education in Palestine
Jewish Education in Palestine

Identify and summarize one scholarly work for your final assignment

Nov. 9 
Megilat Esther
Study Question: How is rhetoric defined or enacted in this text? What kind of rhetor is Esther?

Week 13 A Jewish Woman Rhetor
Nov. 14 
 Zaeske, Susan. “Unveiling Esther as a Pragmatic Radical Rhetoric” Philosophy and

            Rhetoric, Volume 33, Number 3, 2000, pp. 193-220

Study Question: What does Zaeske argue? Why is it important for Jewish and other rhetorics


Nov. 16
Final Research Paper Due, Peer Review to Canvas by Nov. 18 9am.
Peer review in Class, bring laptops.

Final Exam Study Guide Distributed

Week 14: Happy Writing and Thanksgiving!
Nov. 21

First Submission Feedback Distributed
Writing Day—Optional meetings with Dr. Jan

Week 15: The Talmud as Argument: A Teaser for Jewish Rhetorics
Nov. 28

Final Exam Review
Study Question: How might you define Rabbinic rhetoric? What is Talmudic argument?

Recommended Further Reading

Hidary, Richard. “Classical Rhetorical Arrangement and Reasoning in the Talmud: The Case of Yerusahlem Berkhot 1:1”

    1. 33-64 AJS Review 34:1 (2010)

Fisch, Menachem. Rational Rabbis: Science and Talmudic Culture
Ch 2 “The Great Tannaitic Dispute: The Jabne Legends and Their Context” 51-96
Read the Sugya Ovens of Akhnai
Ch1 “Science as An Examplar of Rational Inquiry” 1-28
Sergei Dolgopolski’s What is Talmud?
Ch 3  “The Art of (the) Talmud” p. 69-117
Ch 4 “The Ways of the Talmud in its Rhetorical Dimension: A Performative Analytical Description”  p 179-233

Thurs. Nov. 30

Course Evaluations

Required conferences with Dr. Jan

Extra Credit Opportunity: Public talk

7pm Hilary J. Boone Center

Tues. Dec. 5
Exam Review

Thurs. Dec. 7

Final Exam
Final Papers Due by Dec. 8 by noon to Canvas and in hard copy