Historical Rhetorics/Rhetoric's Medieval Resurgence/Johnson, W. R. “Isocrates Flowering: The Rhetoric of Augustine.” ''Philosophy & Rhetoric'' (1976): 217–31.
Johnson, W. R. “Isocrates Flowering: The Rhetoric of Augustine.” Philosophy & Rhetoric (1976): 217–31.
If Augustine mainly emphasizes theory, he has the characteristics of a philosopher; if he has more concern with practice, he will side with rhetoricians. Once Augustine converted to Christianity, his preoccupation shifted to doing the work of the Church; he no longer had time for his own personal indulgence in philosophy. In order to convince an audience which was not present, Isocrates learned “to create on paper a figure whose being is totally defined by the passion, the energies, and the logic of his will” (225). This distillation of personality into will allows the rhetor to exert influence through time and space. Like Isocrates, and later Cicero, Augustine believes that rhetoric’s only worthy goal is to effect action in the audience.