Rhetorical Analysis Of ' Renewal '

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Pagans are addressed directly once again and summoned to join the banquet of Christ who calls them back to light. The language of “renewal” is noteworthy here, especially because it presupposes the building up and restoration of what is already there. Pagans maintain a sense of dignity and are not equated with the demonic. The image of an invitation to a banquet where food of salvation and a cup of immortality is offered is also different from the images of remedying diseased patients through “cautery and knife.” Where the medical analogy conjures a paternalistic image of forcing out evil from within someone by any means necessay, the invitation to a banquet images a welcoming of the other to come into one’s own space. The image is…show more content…
Reject at last such ruinous madness.” Rather than being worshipped as if it were a god, which robs it of its dignity, the sun prefers to live out its purpose as part of the created order, simply “to usher in the day.” Firmicus then has the sun close the speech to the pagans with something like an altar call:
I frankly show myself as just what I am, and I want you to understand of me nothing else but what you see. This is what pleases God, this is what He gladly welcomes, this is what leads you human beings to the way of salvation: that you should cast aside your errors and absorb the grace of God in simplicity and faith.

In the sun’s speech against its own worship, conversion is rendered as leaving behind false worship and “absorbing” God’s grace in faith. Implicit is an affirmation of the essential humanity of pagans, who are called to the way of salvation. We could say that in casting aside their errors pagans participate in God’s exorcism. In addition, the exorcizing of errors is figured as the precondition to conversion; it is not identical with conversion itself. The difference between exorcism as the precondition of conversion and exorcism as conversion is that the former grants agency and dignity to the pagan as human, while the latter over-identifies the pagan as the demonic. By separating exorcism from conversion, this theology leaves room for a positive account of conversion as a free engagement between
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