This article examines the varying levels of certainty associated with verbal rhetoric and miracles, for both are means through which the York‘Entry into Jerusalem' transmits and affirms the Christian faith. Emphasizing the importance of the characters' rhetorical interactions and investment, the play depicts the relationship between rhetoric and miracles in a manner different from other biblical plays, which appear to subordinate the role of human speech in exploring or conveying religious truths. In contrast, the York 'Entry' privileges rhetoric as the primary catalyst for the characters' encounter with Jesus, and affirms humanity's efforts to engage rhetorically with the tenets of its faith. Rhetorical interaction eventually leads the faithful, like the fictional townspeople of Jerusalem, to a literal and figurative encounter with the divine.
Frank M. Napolitano is an Assistant Professor of English and Coordinator of the Graduate Teaching Fellows/Mentoring Program at Radford University. His primary teaching interests are the history of rhetoric, medieval English literature, and composition studies. He has published on the Towneley Crucifixion in Studies in Philology, and is revising for publication his dissertation, 'The Rhetoric of Counsel and Miracles in Middle English Biblical Drama'.
'Miraculous Rhetoric: The Relationship between Rhetoric and Miracles in the York 'Entry into Jerusalem''.
12.2 (2009): 15-31 (paper). Article 2.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.mcmaster.ca/earlytheatre/vol12/iss2/2