By Stephen D. O'Leary
Apocalyptic expectancies of Armageddon and a brand new Age were a fixture of the yank cultural panorama for hundreds of years. With the process of the 12 months 2000, such millennial visions appear once more to be expanding in recognition. Stephen O'Leary sheds new gentle at the age-old phenomenon of the top of the Age through presenting a rhetorical reason for the charm of millennialism. utilizing examples of apocalyptic argument from historic to trendy occasions, O'Leary identifies the routine styles in apocalyptic texts and activities and indicates how and why the Christian Apocalypse has been used to aid various political stances and courses. The ebook concludes with a severe assessment of the hot appearances of doomsday eventualities in our politics and tradition, and a meditation at the value of the Apocalypse within the nuclear age. Arguing the Apocalypse is the main thorough exam of its topic to this point: a examine of a overlooked bankruptcy of our spiritual and cultural historical past, a advisor to the politics of Armageddon, and a map of millennial realization.
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Additional info for Arguing the Apocalypse: A Theory of Millennial Rhetoric
16 The special topoi are thus basic building blocks for enthymemes, in that they derive their substance from communally accepted opinion and function as warrants or connective principles in rhetorical argument. 17 Aristotle gives a number of examples of special topoi for deliberative or political rhetoric. Since deliberative is concerned with the question of whether a given course of action is good or bad, advisable or unadvisable, these special topoi are expressed as propositions relating to political goods and the good in general.
According to the Mahabarata and the Puranas, the horizon will burst into flame, 30 A R G U I N G THE APOCALYPSE seven or twelve suns will appear in the heavens and will dry up the seas and burn the Earth. The Samvartaka (the Fire of the Cosmic Conflagration) will destroy the entire Universe. Then rain will fall in floods for twelve years, and the Earth will be submerged and mankind destroyed (Visnu Purana 24, 25). Sitting on the cosmic snake Sesa on the surface of the Ocean, Visnu is sunk in Yogic sleep.
Put another way, using the topoi of past and future fact in argument requires that a story be not only told, but entered into. The cosmological speculations of cosmogony and eschatology represent the perfection of the past and future as motives of human communication: time is extended backward or forward to a 'sacred' point of origin or ending, widening the scope of temporal considerations to include that which is at the limits of human understanding. Thus, what might ordinarily be a routine issue of rhetorical invention is transformed into terms of ultimate significance.