Introduction to Rhetoric

Price: $199

Rhetoric is the art of persuasive communication. Intended for adults, especially parents who want to know more about rhetoric to support their students, this class will not assign homework but rather offer weekly readings. This class will introduce rhetoric, focusing on the classical rhetoric taught by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Along the way, we will learn more about the history of the rhetorical tradition, how rhetoric has developed up to the 21st Century, and the most effective tools of persuasion. Dr. Collender has taught rhetoric for over 20 years and is the author of A Rhetoric of Love: Volume Two, published by Veritas Press.

Weekly Sessions

What is Rhetoric?: We will begin learning the fundamental concepts of rhetoric, including ethos, pathos, and logos. We will also survey the history of rhetoric and how the discipline has grown and changed over time.

Deliberative Oratory: All our decisions are about events in the future. We will begin our study of rhetoric, learning how to present options to an audience and lead them through making wise choices.

Ceremonial Oratory: Humans want honor. The praise we give leads others to desire that good thing that we praise. Authentic praise has its art, which we will study here, to cultivate honor as a tool for serving others.

Judicial Oratory: Ancient orators put more effort into learning how to argue before courts and kings than towards any other skill. That’s where they made most of their money. Here, we don’t aim to produce more lawyers, but the skills to press a case and defend a person from accusations are crucial life skills that everyone should know.

Style, Memory, and Delivery: It’s not enough to think clearly and make our appeals. We also must be able to put that message into effective words, remember them, and deliver them well before an audience. We’ll learn how to do that here.

Persuasion and Emotions: Emotions and logic seem to be enemies. Yet brain science shows us that emotions are critical for using logic. In this session, we will learn how to approach the emotions of our audience both to move them and to get them to be able to listen to and experience the truth of our message.

Logic and Persuasion: Many think great reasoning is the hallmark of good persuasion. However, we have all seen that logic doesn’t seem to win the day. In this session, we will identify the place of logic in our presentations and how to make logic effective in a “post-reason” media world.

Cicero on Stand-Up Comedy: People generally don’t associate classical rhetoric with comedy. Yet Aristotle, Cicero, and Quintilian all wrote on how to do comedy. Some even called Cicero “the Stand-Up Consul.” This session will introduce the art of Stand-Up Comedy through what Cicero and Quintilian teach about it.