Martin Luther King Jr. Essay

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Martin Luther King Jr. From the Apostle Paul to Martin Buber: Martin Luther King's use of Historical and Religious Figures in his Letter From Birmingham Jail In his Letter From Birmingham Jail, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is addressing his fellow clergymen in response to their accusations of his "unwise and untimely" activities. Like most other reformers, he finds his greatest rationalization and defense from the word of God. Considering the religious affiliation of his audience, King appeals to the clergymen by instituting examples from, and associates himself with historical and religious figures. Creatively, King is establishing a common ground between himself and the men of the cloth, which causes them to respect his actions and…show more content…
There's something else to be noted here though. Not only is King successful in relating himself to these figures, but also his ideas. When referring to his plea for social reform, he calls it the 'gospel of freedom.' King's diction is very profitable to his argument. Automatically when the word 'gospel' is used, one associates it with God (and probably more so do the clergymen). By referring to his ideas of freedom as a gospel, he is adding religious connotations to them. Now, not only is King being associated with the word of God, but also so are his ideas. In doing this, he is alluding to the point that the toleration and acceptance of segregation and slavery etc, goes against the word of God. These things then make men less virtuous and pious. There has been a lot of research and analization of King's writings by other scholars, who also recognize his tactful talents. From the article "Martin Luther King, Jr., as Scholar: A Reexamination of His Theological Writings," Clayborne Carson (along with Peter Holloran, Ralph E. Luker, and Penny Russell) examine King's method of eclectic composition. King's appropriations of the words and ideas of others should certainly not be understood merely as violations of academic rules. They also indicate his singular ability to intertwine his words and ideas with those of others to express his beliefs

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