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A Rhetoric of Love Review by Jennifer Ladewig

Douglas M. Jones
A Rhetoric of Love ~ Teacher’s Edition
Michael G. Eatmon
Veritas Press
(800) 922-5082
1805 Olde Homestead Lane
Lancaster, PA 17601

A Rhetoric of Love is a one volume set that explores the art of effective, persuasive communication. Written from a Christian perspective, “A Rhetoric of Love aims to teach a ‘more excellent’ (I Corinthians 12:31) and that unlike other texts on the subject, it demonstrates that in rhetoric, as in life, ‘the greatest of these is love’ (I Corinthians 13:13).” When most individual think of rhetoric they think of the great Greek and Roman philosophers like Aristotle, Cicero, Empiricus Argues, Plato, and Socrates who taught orderly thinking and reasoning. The one thing that they didn’t teach about was love. The Bible commands us as believers to love one another and to love our enemies. This is one aspect of rhetoric that the ancient philosophers left out. This is where A Rhetoric of Love will fill in the gap. Your student will not only learn about the ancient philosophers and their classical tradition, but they will learn what the Bible has to say with regard to Rhetoric. The student text is 458 pages in length and the teacher’s edition is 217 pages in length. The cost for the student text is $49.00. The cost for the teacher’s edition is $39.00.

In A Rhetoric of Love students will be introduced to a two-part look into the “love” part of rhetoric.

Part I: Introduction To A Rhetoric of Love covers:

  • Two Paths of Rhetoric
  • Why Persuade
  • What is Persuasion?
  • A Helpful Tool


Part II: The Perspective Of A Rhetoric of Love covers:

  • The Normative Perspective: Love Lives
  • The Situational Perspective: Love Frees
  • The Personal Perspective: Love Is a Habit

Each chapter in the student text begins with an opening statement or question. For example, the opening statement in, Chapter 7 entitled, Love Listens, says; “A rhetoric of love seeks action first and views the indwelling of an opponent as a starting point for interaction. The key habit for developing a mature empathy involves the slow practice of listening carefully.” These opening statements really give the student not only something to really think about but a glimpse of what the chapter is going to encompass. Throughout each chapter there are red boxes entitled Sidebar’s. These boxes go into more detail about the various philosophers. Sidebar 1.2 in Chapter 1 is entitled, “Cicero explains that an orator is not someone armed with weapons of persuasion, but rather one who has cultivated a wise life to share with others.”

Here are a few of my favorite lines throughout the text that I highlighted. It was so hard to narrow down just a few.

  • “Communicators do not change people’s minds; people decide to alter their own attitudes or to resist persuasion.” (page 28)
  • “Blind spots don’t exist only in our field of vision. They show up in many areas of human experience, especially in how our minds view the worlds around and within us.”

(page 41)

  • “We all have slipped into fruitless arguments at times. Reference to 2 Timothy 2:22-25” (page 54)
  • “Rhetoricians in the Old Testament: the prophets Moses (Exodus 4:10), Isaiah (Isaiah 6:8), and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:6). God promised them all ineffectiveness (Jeremiah 7:27, 11:14) Whatever the reasons behind this difficult mission, and whatever else we are to learn from the prophets, we see that the best language, the best arguments, the best speeches, the best rhetoric – even God’s own words – can fail to persuade. Words do not succeed on their own. Arguments do not convince by themselves. The personal dimension is the key factor in whether words accomplish what they set out to do. Words are only part of the story.” (pages 58-60)
  • “Kairos is timeliness and fittingness. It includes the right people, the right message, the right means, and the right occasion. In rhetoric, this means the moment is right to persuade, and your message matches the moment. Ecclesiastes provides another way of understanding Kairos in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.” (pages 300-202)

At the end of each chapter there are Comprehension Exercises, Discussion Exercises, and Presentation Exercises.

In Chapter 16 entitled, Love Moves, one of the Comprehension Exercises states:

Plato divided the human soul into three basic parts: intellect, spiritedness, and emotion. Does the Bible agree with Plato’s theory? If not, where does it differ? Can Plato’s view still be helpful?

When referencing the teacher’s edition to look at suggested answers for this particular question this is what was said:

The Bible doesn’t agree with Plato’s theory. It views us as undivided beings in which all three aspects of our nature are interwoven. Plato’s analogy can still be helpful, though. These three aspects of our nature are interwoven, but they can get out of balance. When out of balance, we need to adjust.

For the Discussion Exercises in Chapter 16, one of the discussion choices is to:

Review some recent political speeches from an online news source. Look for appeals to victimhood. Do they seem genuine? Find one speech that appears to be and one that doesn’t. Look for one that tries both to deny and to embrace victimhood, too. Write a description of how each speech appeals to victimhood. Evaluate whether the appeal is successful.

For the Presentation Exercises in this chapter one of the options that students are given is to:

Find several meme postings that come across as self-righteous or humble bragging. Give a short presentation that suggests fixes. Suggest better ways to say whatever is true or helpful about the memes.

What is really great about A Rhetoric of Love is that the teacher edition assumes no prior knowledge of the subject. It is expected that the educator read the student text ahead of the student. Each lesson represents a week’s worth of instruction and is divided into five sessions. Some may choose to condense the week into fewer days. Appendix A in the back of the book has two schedules, a two-day a week & a five-day a week, based on a 34-week school year. Each lesson shows the order in which the content of each day’s material show be done.

Lessons follow the following order:

  1. Student reads the chapter (session 1)
  2. Opening statement or question (session 1)
  3. Student’s answer Comprehension Exercises (session 1)
  4. Student’s respond to one of the Discussion Exercises (session 1)
  5. Comprehension Exercises answers discussed (session 1)
  6. Student’s share Discussion Exercise responses (session 2)
  7. Student’s begin Presentation Exercises (session 1)
  8. Student’s discuss Presentation Exercise responses (session 3 and 4)
  9. In class discussion of Discussion Exercises (session 2)
  10. Student’s present Presentation Exercises (session 3 and/or 4)
  11. Student’s discuss remaining Discussion Exercises (session 3)
  12. Present Presentation Exercises (session 3 and 4)
  13. Review the biggest ideas of the chapter and set the stage for the next (session 4)
  14. Read following chapter and answer Comprehension Exercises (Session 5)

In the footnotes of the teacher’s edition the teacher will find links to video’s and articles.

These links to articles, videos, and other educational points of departure are meant to enhance the student’s experience.

Also included in the curriculum is a midterm exam as well as a final exam.

The Teacher’s Edition is very user friendly and gives step-by-step instructions as to how to teach each session and implement all extras. Suggested answers are given for Comprehension Exercises.

A Rhetoric of Love is intended for to be used in the 10th grade. This course would work well in the school setting, co-op setting, and also for the homeschooling setting. For the homeschool setting it is quite easy to adapt the curriculum fit more of a single student self-paced program. Since my high school aged kiddos are deep into their current studies at this time they read through chapters of the book and loved it! They gained so much insight. After reading through A Rhetoric of Love for myself I am anxious to use the curriculum in its entirety this next upcoming school year for at least two of my children. I thoroughly enjoyed working through this curriculum myself. For the upper level student that may not have the time to devote themselves to the full curriculum but is interested in the study of Rhetoric would most definitely gain a wealth of information from just reading the student text alone.

I would most absolutely recommend A Rhetoric of Love to educators that are looking for a solid rhetoric curriculum that looks back at Greek and Roman philosophers and their classical thoughts and traditions while providing one missing piece, the Bible for guidance.

-Product review by Jennifer Ladewig, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November, 2018