Teaching1: Eloquence and Oratory
Teaching 2: Anatomy of the Speech. Oratorical Rules and Precepts
Teaching 3: Figures of Words and Thoughts
Teaching 4: Formation of the Speech
Teaching 5: Ideas, Order, Forms and Words in the Speech
Teaching 6: Speech and Orator
Teaching 7: Reflections about the Application of the Above-mentioned
Teaching 8: Several Types of Eloquence
Teaching 9: Improvisation
Teaching 10: Critical Synthesis of Style
Teaching 11: Verbal Hygiene
Teaching 12: Voice
Teaching 13: Reading
Teaching 14: Historic Outline of Oratory
Teaching 15: Preaching in the Christian Church; its Orthodoxy
Teaching 16: Supernatural Oratory in Biblical Prophets
Teaching 1: Eloquence and Oratory
“Eloquence (oratory)”, Kant says, “is the art of giving to a serious exercise of the understanding the character of a free imagination game; poetry is the art of giving to a free imagination game the character of a serious exercise of the understanding.”
Quintillian says “eloquentia est ars dicendi accomodata ad persuadendum quod honestum sit, quod oporteat”¸ so he delimits through the last words that which Cicero had said: “Officium oratoriae facultatis videtur esse: dicere apposite ad persuasionem; fluida perduadere dictione”. Even so, Quintillian’s words are rather of oratory, according to many authors in matter, who reduce the name of eloquence to a natural faculty tending to move the spirits through the word.
If to this natural inclination you add the art that cultivates and makes it fit to every use of the word, then as a result of it, this is oratory.
In spite of its natural source and response to spontaneous motives, one must appeal to art resources, since we cannot achieve the explicit purpose of oratory if we do not have them.
Although wild rude men, wild peoples and even primitive human expressions no doubt offer patterns of natural eloquence or rather eloquent expressions. But neither Demosthenes, nor Cicero, nor Bossuet have been able to write down their more poor speech without constancy, love for study and art, which never are deserted. Amid furious fights, popular riots, turbulent assemblies, wherever passions grow and are out of control, quite eloquent features deserving to be conveyed to posterity emerge. But to fight face to face deep-rooted worries, to overcome the inconstancy of the Athenians and Philip’s gold, to crash Catilin’s boldness, to save a nation from its imminent bankruptcy, to sustain the cause of the helpless Ireland, to make resound the voice of religion in chests infected by vices, frivolity and skepticism, an iron will-to-work is indispensable, and inborn privileged gifts are not enough, because only on the dint of fight and suffering one can acquire science, knowledge of man, and free command (use) of imagination, passions and word.
So, this art of the speech, in order to achieve the purpose of our words, needs substantial arguments, clear method and probity, along with gracious style and expression, but the good sense remains the foundation of any speech.
This “art of persuasion” has multiple facets. But we must clearly show the difference between “convincing” and “persuading”. Conviction refers only to the understanding, and persuasion to the will and practice. The task of the philosopher will consist in convincing, but the task of an orator will consist in persuading people to act in accordance with the conviction of the truth. Not always conviction is side by side with persuasion. Certainly the two must go together: and this must be so if the inclination continuously follows the opinion of one’s innermost being. You may be convinced of virtue and justice as laudable values and at the same time perhaps you are not persuaded so as to act in accordance with virtue and justice. One’s inclination may be against, even though our reason feels satisfied, and perhaps passions prevail against our understanding.
So the task of an orator must be to act in accordance with his own conviction.
Three grades of oratorical eloquence will be set up: First and lowest grade, only aiming at and pleasing the audience; in general, eloquence in panegyrics, inaugural speech, and so on. It is of ornamental kind. Second grade: it is higher, and the orator aims not only at pleasing, but also at informing, instructing and persuading. And the third grade: greatly influencing the soul, convincing it and arousing the interest, so the orator moves and attracts the soul, and finally leads the audience to decide and act in accordance with the expressed cause. Generally this type of eloquence comes along with certain lofty passion that arouses fervor in the heart of the orator and conveys a sort of vocational fire to the audience.
The ancients divided the public locution into three kinds: demonstrative, deliberative and judicial. The first was of praise or vituperation; the second, of persuasion and dissuasion; and the third, of accusation or defense. The three may be respectively related to popular meetings, pulpit and forum.
In regard to Quintillian’s words (“The main thing in art is to preserve decorum”) we should add the advice of Cicero to orators in his “Orator, to Brutus”: “The good sense is the foundation of eloquence, like of all the rest. Its most difficult aspect, as in life, is to see that which decency calls forth, and one makes mistakes many times by ignoring this. So one must not speak with the same style and the same thoughts to men of different classes, age and wealth, and on different times, places and audiences. In every part of the speech, as in one’s behavior, we must attend to what is decent, and see what is the matter, which persons are speaking, and whom the speech is aiming at”.
Of course, the bad reputation of an orator particularly spoils the effects of eloquence, even though this eloquence is truly fiery and spontaneous. Ethics cannot be apart from aesthetics. So, professional probity of a judicial orator, exemplary virtues and piety of a sacred orator, scientific renown of a lecturer about doctrines in academies, classes and congresses, contribute to oratory, like prisms in a diaphanous crystal, which increase enormously the power of light.
Also he needs complete serenity, balanced and wise courage and self-control in order to preserve, even at his most enthusiastic moments, a full control of his own will.
His sensibility will be virile and profound, not soft and languid, and seek freely the vehemence, if necessary. And from his self-knowledge, the knowledge must emerge of both human misery and greatness that, through virtuous reputation, conviction, courage, boldness, fearlessness, sensibility, ductility, memory, and usual solitary reflection convey his inner speech through an outer speech.
He must add to these qualities intellectual qualities –substantial reason, and general, analytic and methodic spirit; rapid and steady judgment; inventiveness and cautiousness of a dialectician, but not misusing an extreme subtlety so that he becomes a sophist.
He must know the eloquence of silence, if necessary the eloquence of action, regardless the word and, above all, the highest eloquence of love for the cause that he is defending, being capable of dying in the line of his own ideal. Authority arisen from fidelity never will be excelled by oratory rules or precepts. And he must know this since the beginning.
Teaching 2: Anatomy of the Speech. Oratorical Rules and Precepts.
As we said in the first Teaching of this course, an orator could get little fruit from his natural qualities when he has not cultivated them and, in this sense, in relation to the need of cultivating those qualities that one receives, we can adhere to the Latin motto: Poeta nascitur, orator fit. Today we cannot follow Quintillian’s wishes in his admirable book about education of an orator since the very beginning, when he says that this education must start from the lap of his nanny, but obviously an orator must cultivate and develop his own natural faculties if his intentions are to convince, persuade and move through his own word. This education should be as much scientific as oratorical. Scientific education implies to acquire certain knowledge that is the foundation of any substantial eloquence. Ultimately this science should comprise: over and above, matters related to its own competence (in sacred oratory, dogmatic theology and moral, Holy Letters, history of the Church; in politics, government doctrine, history of the country; in judicial subjects, knowledge of laws and of their principles); second, knowledge more linked with the practice of oratory (logic, and historic and literary studies in general); and third, certain instruction as wide as possible, not only for an immediate application of the acquired knowledge, but also for the sake of the “yeast” that this knowledge leaves.
But at this point one should remember, first, that while there have been orators who, apart from this quality, have been outstanding scholars (would that were many of them in every subject), scientific studies of an orator can be reduced to narrower limits that those of a scholar; second, that an orator should offer the very best of science, but never forgetting, when his exclusive object is not to teach, the difference between an oratorical composition and a didactic lesson; and third, that knowledge is dead letter for him who should raise the spirits if that letter is not fertilized by a practical study of men, of himself and of his subject wherever he is.
Oratorical education comprises: a) simultaneous cultivation of different faculties, in order to strengthen the weakest faculties so that the strongest do not prevail and break the harmony that should exist among all of them; b) study of patterns not only classical but rather contemporary and as much as possible according to his especial kind of oratory and character, in which he should not be in search of isolated forms to imitate, but of a general coordination for improvising later, but by trying to restrain any regular verbosity and mistake; and c) study of the theory and reading of good critical judgments about oratorical works.
Inherent faculties of the speech are as follows:
Accurateness: this basic condition in oratory may result from avoiding outlandish, snobby or all-fashioned terms in detriment of the whole clarity of the speech.
Clarity: so, essentially, one should not to talk about a matter that is half-understood, under pretext of being inspired at the right moment, which is like obliging God to follow our own will. Sentences should not be too much long or too much short; the former are tiresome; through the latter, listeners have to go away empty-handed. Variety is always a solution of good sense. Also one should not display too much cleverness –this leads to a pompous and arrogant speech. La Bruyère said about those who use plenty subtleties and concepts: “They capital defects are two: one, they lack talent, and two, they strive for convincing you that they have talent”. If the orator does not know the matter, clarity will be spoilt. Remember, concision and clarity go hand in hand: “good if and when brief, is twice good”. Your words are if and when you avoid useless repetitions. Spontaneity becomes a great contribution to this pristine quality of the speech; remember, one suffers when is convinced of the past or present suffering of others, and an orator who strives for speaking properly, makes feel the audience quite uneasy, because the speech should be serene. So, the orator should consider closely his matter, since fluency will derive from it.
Sonority and cadence: a sort of musicality, also called harmony, or more properly melody, is the result of a close selection of words, of their close use in every part of the speech, and of the form and duration of sentences. Forms of the speech –inquisitive, affirmative or expositive– are elements in this part of oratory, which should not be overlooked, and deserve much moderation.
Now, as a resume, after certain inner properties of the speech, an orator should also know and recognize certain conventional properties. The common name of them is tropes.
Metaphor: it is the translation of a word from its own meaning into another quite different: “morning of life; winter of age”. Any metaphor possesses certain hidden similarity.
An allegory is just a continuous metaphor, entirely related to the same object that has been taken as an emblem.
Metonimy: it includes any kind of translation and uses the precedent one; therefore cause for effect, continent for the contained thing, author for his works, or the opposite: “an army of one hundred spears; respect for our gray hair”.
Synechdoche: use of a part for the whole, and vice versa; for instance, “sails” for “ships” , “kind” for “species”; an angel is the inborn condition of humanity (“humanity” for “man”); “matter” for the “thing” itself: “pealing” of the “bronze” [bell metal]”; “abstract” for “concrete”, and vice versa.
Irony: a little hint of the contrary of one’s words. This meaning is not in the word, but in its respective tone.
Hyperbole: exaggerating or minimizing something beyond its natural terms; so, a light stab is a “pin prick”, and a wide lake “like an Ocean”.
Antonomasia: taking for general what is particular, or vice versa; for instance, by emphasizing the prestige of certain person through the name of another qualified individual: “He is a Cicero”, about he who is quite eloquent; “He is a Nero”, in relation to a very cruel person.
Of course, an orator uses tropes spontaneously, and just this grants beauty to his harmonious speech. It might be preposterous to stop pondering which trope to use. But certainly, through his own solitary meditation, study and practice, he should use one and all figures of this type and so, later, his fluent speech will embellish a dry concept, a doctrinal and strong harangue, and the outer expression of a secret and intimate experience.
Teaching 3: Figures of Words and Thought
Strictly speaking, “figure” is to change the use or meaning of words, which facilitates the speech. These forms of thought or language should be of two essential features, which are rightly called by this name: they may be easily replaced by a simpler form or by certain non-figured form, and they may express an idea or thought more vividly, graciously or energetically.
“Figures” are a natural expression of certain moods or changes in the soul, which demand an essential language, so to speak, according the spiritual state and that you cannot find exclusively through logical and grammatical constructions, but through this “figured” language. They are not art inventions; a violent, though and uneducated man uses and applies a figured language. The rhetorical art simply teaches how to use rightly such figures or, rather, it has discovered and classified them. And thence it has brought rules for their better use.
Being considered as licenses, in order to give variety, beauty and energy to words, they are called “construction figures” by the Spanish grammar. These “construction figures” –here referred simply for information and complementing those figures that will be seen separately and closely– are just four, respectively: hyperbaton, ellipsis, pleonasm and syllepsis.
Repetition: that of the same word in the beginning of every clause, member or sentence. Cicero says: “Scipio rendered Numantia, Scipio destroyed Carthage, Scipio saved Rome from its collapse through fire”. “You try nothing, you plot nothing, you think of nothing”.
Conversion: when you repeat certain word at the end of every clause, member or sentence, not in the beginning. Again Cicero says: “Do you cry for three armies that has been lost? Anthony has lost them. Are you sorry for your more illustrious citizens? Anthony has stolen it from you...”.
Complexion: union of two previous words, by beginning and ending sentences with the same term: “Who has broken treaties? Carthage. Who has devastated Italy? Carthage...”.
Co-duplication: consecutive repetition of the same word in the same sentence: “You live, you live in order to increase your boldness, not to renounce to lay it aside”.
Gradation: ascent or descent of your thought through the speech. It can be upward or downward. Upward gradation: “A horse-shoe may be lost by one nail, a horse by one horse-shoe, and a knight by one horse”. Downward gradation: “He is not interested in humanity, or in nations, and much less in individuals”.
Figures to give or know objects.
Description and enumeration: if the object is unique, you should describe it; if objects are several, then you should enumerate them.
Figures to communicated reasoning and reflection.
Comparison: like metaphor, but it is hidden behind a metaphor, and open in a comparison.
Antithesis: if comparison is based on similarity, antithesis should be based on opposition. You should emphasize the contrast by describing quite properly the two opposite sides.
Figures to tone down certain idea.
Preterition: you pretend to silence or give a little hint to something, but in fact this is an artifice because you state it quite clearly and you fix it by means of some few –but very marked¬– traits.
Reticence: through this figure an orator apparently repress his fire or momentum by virtue of certain discretion or moderation at that moment, so he feels obliged to stop in order to keep the idea or sentence that he was about to express.
Figures to express and move the spirits.
Interrogation: it is the most eager, strong and pressing figure.
Subjection: through this figure an orator asks his adversary or audience, and it is he who gives the answer.
Dubitation: through this figure an orator apparently hesitates about what to say or how to act, even though he knows it quite well and has previously solved it.
Exclamation: the expression of certain wish (“If only Mila would put out this lamp!” “If only gods wish his mouth pours out...!”).
Deprecation: expressing certain wish along with an entreaty to a person who accepts his pleading.
Imprecation: threats and curses.
Commination: its purpose is intimidation by displaying certain evil that the audience may undergo.
Apostrophe: the orator lays aside the audience by addressing to absent objects, God, Earth, the dead and even inanimate or metaphysical beings.
Personification (impersonation) and prosopopoeia: this thought figure brings into motion insensible things, feelings and passions as if they were endowed with action and word.
Also there are many other figures, as much of words as of thoughts. They are not referred here because we consider those capital figures for the speech and because most of them are a repetition of the above-mentioned by refining on certain aspects generally included in this list. (So, to figures tending to communicate reasoning and reflection, we might add concession, correction or amplification, but always it would be comparison and antithesis.)
Teaching 4: Formation of the Speech
Philosophical line and development of its principles.
In rhetoric, the formation of the speech is divided as follows: exordium or introduction, proposition, division, narration, argumentation or part of proof, refutation, pathetic part or of effects, epilog or conclusion. But after a short consideration, you find that this enumeration is not proper.
Exordium: its purpose is to prepare the audience; therefore it is useless when listeners are already prepared. Cicero took advantage of this favorable mood of the audience and starts directly his famous harangue: Quousque tandem abutere Catilina patientia nostra?
Proposition: it is generally laid aside since includes though and object of the speech, and because clearly unveiled might turn the speech scholastic, and contradict its elevation and natural fluency.
Division: you need it only for quite complicated matters and questions. You should lay it aside as much as possible because it spoils the unity, which is the most important part of any speech.
Narration: it is out of place in political speech in which there is a simple exposition. So, division can be absent in speech, and this often occurs. But their plan should always be present, as well as development of the prevailing idea.
So, these classical rules should be not only introduced, but also fixed on an hypothetical speech in order to discard what one feels improper, previous to our knowledge of everything.
Exordium or introduction. Its only purpose is to prepare the spirits of the listeners, so the orator takes hold of their attention, interest and goodwill in order to approach naturally the subject.
When his speech is about to start, the orator should consider and know the mood of the audience. The audience may be indifferent, favorable or contrary. If indifference prevails, your exordium should try to replace it by interest. If favorable, your introduction should increase the value of this situation. If audience is against, above all your exordium should destroy and eradicate this mood.
Any exordium should be proportional to the length of the speech, and above all, mainly clear. Nothing can prejudice as much against the orator and his eventual speech as an emphatic exordium, full of subtle thoughts, preposterous and pressing concepts, and forced sentences. If language should be natural, clear and simple, tone, gesture and face should be modest, quite destined to interest and attract attention and goodwill. Tropes and figures should be in accordance with a natural, clear and simple language.
Exordium is a part of the speech and, as such, should be intimately connected with it. Thence, as a rule, any exordium that may be laid aside is improper when its exclusion does not affect the speech as a whole.
In the opinion of certain authors, the exordium should be prepared after the preparation of the speech as a whole. This method may be useful for beginners, but it is improper and useless for those people well versed in eloquence. The latter are aware of their starting and arrival points as soon as they prepare a plan in their minds and trace the periphery that they intend to travel through.
Proposition. As we said, most time is laid aside for it is not necessary. If you use it, especially on sacred oratory, it should be short and clear in order to remain properly fixed and easily remembered by the audience, so that the latter may see it as the axis of the speech during its successive development.
Division. As we said, it is rarely necessary, and you should lay it aside as much as possible because it may break seriously the unity. Please remember this: receptiveness is limited in human intelligence, and you should facilitate and pave the way to its conceptions instead of surrounding them with difficulties and shadows.
Narration. Sometimes narration goes before, and sometimes goes after certain parts of the speech. Narration should be as short as possible and, above all, highly clear, because it must be useless to the audience during the entire speech, from a continuous starting point to a continuous reference point. As for narration, the orator must be scrupulously accurate and truthful.
Argumentation. This part essentially rather deals rather logic than with eloquence. Proofs confirming the exposition and subject can be found in scientific, religious and social systems, in books, and in combined formulations. Above all, argumentation should increase the value of proofs and arguments by means of moral reflections and historic comments, all this cleverly combined and expressed.
Refutation. Naturally, certain matters, objects and cases do not admit proofs or refutation, and figures enumerated can be used to anticipate refutations to arguments that the orator has posed. This part of the speech can be generally applied rather to forum or parliament than to sacred or religious oratory; in the latter, certain parts are exceptionally contradicted, if and when they exist.
Pathetic or affective part. According to rhetoric, here the author should use all his resources in relation to strength of his ideas and vehemence and color of his images as well. If in exordium he tried to reconcile the attention and goodwill of his listeners; if in narration he posed the matter with method and clarity in order to fix it at the level of every capacity; and in proofs he aimed to engrave a perfect and deep conviction on the understanding of his audience, during this time of the speech, his object should be to reach the heart and to lay aside nothing that may move it favorably; not by means of fiery emotions but of certain solemnity, by means of aristocratic vehemence, by following his inspiration and being carried away rather by his momentum than by his mental logic, but never forgetting the thread, essence and object of the speech. This phase is of conquest; previous phases were of preparation so that, at this point, the listener is prepared for a good sowing time.
Epilog or conclusion. Epilog is just a flash in the speech as a whole, since otherwise it would be equal to a second edition of it.
Teaching 5: Ideas, Order, Forms and Words in the Speech
The orator should find arguments and present them duly arranged, embellish them with words, and express them with decency and decorum. All this has been called invention, disposition, elocution and pronunciation.
Invention: it is to find ideas and arguments for your future speech. How to find them? What source can you apply to? Why your understanding many times refuses to do this service?
Certain author said, everything is fruitless to fruitless and uneducated spirits, everything is superficial to superficial spirits, and everything is a chaos to dark spirits. Measure of beings and objects in relation to soul lays in soul itself. So, the privilege of meditation and mood consists in finding more important relationships in things and in representing them by means of forms equivalent to this greatness. The same object represented by a mean pen or language acquires sublime forms in another language or pen.
You should acquire certain knowledge by reflecting usually on things and beings. A continuous and profound consideration about matter to deal with, they all are sources of invention to get resources.
An external reading is like non-assimilated food: they do not nurture your soul. Your reflection must be in abundance on every selected page. Otherwise, ideas become fleeting and nothing will remain in your memory, from which the orator will get, later, material for his speech. Then, meditation will refine and guide the said reflective material.
Here is the work and fruit of oratorical invention: approach to the object, consideration of its entire dimensions, selection of proper ideas, their composition and decomposition successively, discovery of the most attractive point of view for their presentation, and finally, their expression though a plan and forms of enunciation.
“Disposition” has been previously considered in relation to parts of an harangue, and “elocution”, in connection with tropes and figures. See pronunciation rules.
Pronunciation: perhaps nothing is more important than pronunciation in any speech. Someday, to the question about which was the main part in oratory, Demosthenes replied: “Pronunciation”. “And after pronunciation?”, they asked again, he said: “Pronunciation”. “But, after pronunciation?”, they insisted for the third time, and here is the third Demosthenes’ reply: “Pronunciation”. Of course, this Athenian orator had serious personal motives to give such extreme opinion. But he rightly referred in an exclusive way to this element of measure and sonority.
Here is the difference between hearing an orator and reading his printed speech is extraordinary later. Printed word is hardly a shadow of a vibrating word that has been vividly conveyed.
Tone, inflection and gesture contribute a lot to thought, or rather expand and clarify it, and an orator endowed with good pronunciation often gives heat where by logic heat is absent, and produces harmony where rhetorically you need it because naturally it is non-existent. So also the best speech, if improperly pronounced, is not attractive. You call a woman beautiful, but according to a tone of ceremony, vehemence or gibe, this word will mean mere courtesy, live passion or pungent irony
The same sentence duly pronounced on a tribune and read later, even thoroughly copied, will stop being the same thing. Why? Because action, which is a language coming to help another language, and also tone, voice modulation, gesture and facial expression sometimes all of them are powerful allied that are duly used by an orator, and cannot be translated into paper where you can just get a dead copy in comparison with a live and fiery picture painted in the speech. So, eloquence of action is much more persuasive than eloquence of words.
Let us consider separately tone, inflection and celerity related to voice.
Tone: as a rule, in the beginning a speech should not take such high tone as later because it is not proper to begin loudly certain discussion that now is still and peaceful.
Inflection: human voice is an instrument with different chords for every emotion. A joyful chord is related to abundant, light, enthusiastic and live word. After an acute sorrow, there are hardly articulated sounds that end up as a mournful cry; a profound pain asks for a language of heat and movements; and finally happy impressions are translated into sweet, still and affective word. Here declamation, as a try, becomes extremely useful and is recommended.
Celerity: as a rule, an especially emotive word is faster at the end of sentences. You can know exactly this remark. Language is a thought reflection and gets from it inspiration, momentum and excitation. Language should be faster or broken according to more or less slow vibrations, or more or less live vibration received from inside; and as these vibrations are always faster at the end of sentences, it is indispensable for your tongue to follow the celerity conveyed by your soul. Apparently thought follows the same gravitation laws of physical bodies; its movement is faster when is about to end up.
Light pauses may be proper at the end of an important sentence.
Generally speaking, you should not speak so rapidly that you lose words, not so slowly that the audience, being impatient, remains mentally or physically absent. All this should also be fit to nature of the speech: celerity with thick philosophical concepts should not be the same as in political meetings.
Gesture: it is a useful means to make notice and feel what you say. Many times it reveals aspects that have not been expressed by words. But you should use it with parsimony and much measure.
Remember that your face is faithful reflection of the truth or falsehood of your sayings; above all, this is quite true in relation to your eyes.
The rest of movement should not be of the whole body –action should start from your arm. You use especially the right arm, and your left arm should not remain motionless. An orator should stay erect, somewhat inclined forward, because in this way his body remain more free and easy.
Also perpendicular movements, namely, in straight line upward-downward, which as Shakespeare says in Hamlet, “cut the air with your hand”, should be checked because they are good seldom. Oblique movements are generally the most graceful. Also you should avoid quite sudden and rapid movements.
This outer form, called “eloquentia corporis”, is quite significant and should not be overlooked. But you should not forget certain necessary measure and constant self-examination during the speech, to avoid exaggeration or a cold attitude in disagreement with your words.
Of course, all these licenses and rules refer to an ordinary orator and, therefore, they are also valid in connection with him and ordinary circumstances, places and events; so these licenses and rules should be according to them.
People moved by vocation, Initiates, mystics, scholars and saints of all times have established, according to nature and circumstances of their mission, their own law, method and discipline. Naturally, these cases are always exceptional, and never can be taken as the “type” to pose from it the whole didactic aspect. But many times even these beings have followed certain method and synthesis of an experience takes for granted some rule, in order to avoid improper delays.
The kind of communication established between a great political o religious orator and his audience or devotees, was not at all as the communication between Gandhi and his skeptic Parisian audience, according to remarks of a direct spectator.
In a cram-full hall, Gandhi gave his own notion about non-violence. Serene, with no hesitation, he answered all questions, which might be embarrassing for anyone. His presence, endowed with spirit, accurateness, sincerity and unalterable patience, was the true essence of his doctrine. Gradually that little and ugly man conquered the audience: he would not use usual recipes of classical oratory, he spoke with extreme simplicity, without eloquence or oratorical tricks, his voice never was loud, and his timbre, even though quite pleasant, did not have any particular qualities.
Communication between him and this audience is established through a way that is not ordinary; so, in speaking of his faith in the truth, non-violence and love, and repeating more ordinary axioms that two and two give four, Gandhi’s audience was in a blaze; his sayings were not spectacular, and the quality of his word did not depend on language, even though his English was quite fluent and recommendable.
Teaching 6. Speech and Orator
Rules to prepare the speech. Above all, an orator should devote especially to read selected books, where serious erudition and substantial ideas, and beauty and language energy go hand in hand.
It can never be too much emphasized how this continuous reading improves your formation. Inadvertently you start thinking and speaking with usual grace and elegance when you have excellent books of this type at hand. But reading is not enough: you should do a quite close mental work, give a different turn to every sentence of the book that you are reading, and try to change its outer aspects if they may be improved.
Through every one of these attempts silently made in your inner laboratory, obstacles and troubles of your reason and language start being broken, and wings start growing for some short flight.
Translation is another exercise leading to the same aim. Translation has two advantages: you grasp in depth the work that you are translating, and also you necessarily consider a lot of words. So you get inadvertently a treasure twice.
After these previous exercises, you can start trying to compose. First, you choose the subject matter, and then you should meditate a lot on it in order to find thoughts and to co-ordinate them so that they have the most natural and logical concatenation, relationship and dependence. Being entirely alone and devoted to his analysis and investigation, the orator moves in a wider and wider circle of ideas and images, and chooses and keeps those that are fitter to his aims and intellectual prospective. You need this mental disposition and reflective composition in order to prepare yourself to be truly eloquent.
Keep in mind this warning: never work in a hurry, especially in the beginning, because if you try to arrive too soon, then you will not arrive at all. Another remark: not to prepare long speeches because their own extension weakens them and eventually are tiresome for the audience.
Also remember this: some days and moments, everything comes to your mind with wonderful rapidity and ease. So the link between your soul and the gross and material part is seemingly broken; then your word goes up graciously to quite subtle regions. But other days and moments are fateful and fruitless because your thought comes up reluctant and lazy; then you hardly glimpse some ideas on a lake of darkness, you are unable to formulate them, and even your tongue refuses to serve. Then simplicity, humility and patience are the best resources. Sometimes solemnity, words chosen in solitude and study, serenity and certain selected slowness grant a fit ceremonial to overcome this obstacle.
Also add this very especial rule: when the orator has already combined his ideas, sees them clearly and knows their links and similarities; when his meditations have provided necessary heat and cleverness, and has abundant inspirational images, then by way of preparation, he should write down just divisions or arrangement of his speech and capital ideas which will be useful as starting points. Some few points are enough for this purpose. And sometimes they do not need to be consulted later.
General rules for the orator. The first rule of all is to be modest. If he appears daring and petulant, his audience, which had to be docile and kind, rebels against him, and they will listen to him with prejudice.
This precaution is twice recommendable for a young and novice orator. Age and acquired reputation give certain authority and permit to insist firmly and irrevocably on his proposed opinion.
But this modest should not demean and become shyness. Serenity and inner calm are quite in accordance with modesty; the absence of these qualities makes the speech impossible, especially if there is improvisation. Fear blinds your reason, darkens your understanding, dulls your discursive faculty, and its unequivocal symptoms produce indifference and pity in the audience as soon as all this is perceived. At this point, a mean term is recommendable, but if you have to touch certain extremes, then to be daring is better than to be meticulous.
Another object that an orator should keep ever in mind: to give variety to his speech, by avoiding the same tone and color. Like in painting, chiaroscuro enhances a work of art.
You should meditate on Saint Augustine’s sentence: “Words depend on the orator, and the orator depends on words”.
A final warning: decorum and circumspection have to preside the speech, and the orator should carefully avoid to mistake zeal for offence. Your language should be restrained and circumspect, but emphatic at the same time.
Teaching 7: Reflections about the Application of the Above-Mentioned Rules
A contemporary writer said: “It is not an orator he who gets ready, arranges and classifies properly ideas, or he who produces them with harmony and graces of the eloquence by flattering ears and imagination at the same time, but he who possesses these two talents and knows how to reunite and practice them”. Add to this that eloquence may be good or bad, vice or virtue, angel or devil, according to certain object proposed or means used.
Solon’s severe eloquence is the contrary to Pisistratus’ sly and cunning eloquence, and Demosthenes’ immortal harangues are the contrary to Eschines’ sophisticated and skilful harangues. All this should make reflect that orator and eloquence are instruments, means to serve with decorum to higher purposes; so, that ultimately meditations should be led to the content and meaning of the speech, and later to its form. To be careful with the former and to overlook the latter might mean that your work is rather for self-love than for loving God.
Before he starts speaking, the orator should reduce three things to a clear and definite formula, namely: where, or in which part of his speech, and how he must tell it. In case of improvisation, his intellectual operation should be immediate on these three points.
Remember that reading is quite recommendable, but without meditation is not so useful, and memory is a clock that if you do not wind it up, stops working. Gorgias said to beat a fateful trust of some beings in their “subconscious store”: “Memory is a servant who must be continuously remembered about his duties, otherwise he will forget them”.
In his “Book of Orators”, Timon says about an orator trusting his speech to his own memory, but presenting it as a sudden and spontaneous production: “He does not feel the inner god, the Pythoness’ god stirring and oppressing; he is a man of yesterday and not a man of here and now; he is a man of art and not a man of nature; in short, he is a comedian refusing to be such as he is when he is his own prompter, and trying to deceive them and even to deceive himself”.
It is also advantageous to write down extracts of your readings, because this method permits to save a lot of time and to create the habit of synthesis.
Teaching 8. Several Types of Eloquence
Popular eloquence. Its tribune is the environment, and its audience, the people. Through it you can try the most daring and less controlled flights, the boldest images and the most vivid and profound emotions in comparison with eloquence of other types.
. This eloquence keeps in mind rather ornament of your language than fiber and energy of your sayings.
People want to hear great things, loudly and entirely announced by the orator with passion, expressive gesture and all signs of conviction and enthusiasm. There an orator stirs or calms down multitudes through the breath of his word.
Military eloquence. It is this eloquence that mainly influenced destinies of peoples.
An eloquence of this type proves the power of the word. It enraptures men and makes them run blindly in search for a golden glory; it exalts their spirits and pushes them to death with the same joy of going to a feast, and fills them with enthusiasm to the extent of making them forget their parents, sons, daughters and wives, and thinking just of an idol in front of them, or of a fatherland, or of a flag that is its emblem.
Napoleon’s victories were dependent a lot upon the fiery word of this leader who was entirely able to captivate and convey enthusiasm, arrogance and magnanimity to his troops. His notable harangues are a particular example in this sense.
Academic eloquence. This eloquence requires of measure and calculation as a whole, and just claims for cultivated diction, refined and subtle concepts, brilliant figures in accordance with beauty, not with elevation and magnificence; that is, rhythm and cadence that our soul does not admit easily through other means. This eloquence is like a walk through pleasant gardens. Timon has described it accurately: “Its aspect is entirely different. It is like a coquette looking and looking at herself from foot to head. It caresses the vanity of others so that they flatter her vanity. It dislikes many ideas. It moves easily through well-studied sentences, intangible delicacies and fine allusions. Its own crown is pallid roses that are born of coal in warm greenhouses of the Institute”.
Sacred eloquence. It is related just to the rest, since at this point a detailed consideration is beyond the reach of this course.
It is over a profane orator because a sacred orator can choose his object, can meditate, dispose and formulate it, and can order it profoundly and closely in the archive of his memory. On the other hand, a profane orator receives the object that has been presented to him and in the way it has been presented, and most times is obliged to speak about this object with little preparation or without any preparation.
A preacher speaks to pious and devout individuals, whose hearts do not admit opposition, suspicion or distrust; usually a profane orator speaks among tenacious opponents and sometimes before reluctant persons. Most times a preacher speaks sweetly, lovingly and fraternally, but a profane orator throws fiery bolts and evokes passion and hatred. The former tries to fraternize; the latter, tries to beat enemies.
But a profane orator, in relation to oratory, always has other advantages as compensation of that irregularity. A preacher is a man of yesterday, of precedent days; and orator is man of today, of the present moment.
But the divine word resounds on the solemn picture of his pulpit. As an advocate of his religion, an interpreter of God, an announcer of doctrine or dogmas, a father for his devotees, who as such is leading them with holy severity and encouraging them with his angelic sweetness, he is a guide for the sinner who is about to fall in the abyss, and as such he grasps him with his strong arm and moves him away from the abyss, gives him comfort and hope in the word, and his fight, even though not so manifested as that of a tribune, parliamentarian and patriot, is not free of attacks and resonant victories that the latter get. But victories of a sacred orator are a result of solitude and silence.
His work is less temporal by virtue of its mission and nature, but in spite of it he works amid a temporal environment and, being unaware of the fleeting triumph before men, necessarily he must know, through faith, the last victory close to God.
Teaching 9. Improvisation
What is conversation? It is short improvisation constantly changing subject and object, and even opening and deepening them. Any preparation is impossible in it because conversation permanently change its face. So you cannot anticipate replies, or think answers beforehand, or calculate where the conversation might lead. Everything is born here and now, and ideas and word are thought, formulated and announced as soon as possible.
What may this conversation need to become a speech? Extension and security. That is to say: to have ideas to feed it longer, and words that can come to help these ideas. A continuous speech is just perfection and prolongation of a speech that has been broken by a dialogue.
What is to improvise? It is to grasp ideas easily and rapidly, and to translate them into words. What do you do when you are writing down? You remember and combine. So, through the use of the word, you should acquire the habit of making instantaneously these memories and combinations; then you will be an improviser.
Improvisation is just a spontaneous and sudden production of something that you already know, of something that you previously have learnt and meditated. Many times, like in oneiric improvisation, during a speech your soul soars to regions consciously unknown and comes back with acquisitions from a conscious meditation.
Like speeches, conversation has two aims: an ideal aim, that is, thoughts, and a material aim, namely, words. You get and perfect the former by means of constant and varied study; and the latter, by accumulating and selecting quite fit verbal expressions –because of their relevance, sonority and elegance– in order to represent the idea with beauty and close relationships of any possible kinds.
Method. Any mechanism is reduced to two concepts: an analytical method to learn, and a synthetic method to carry out.
Analytic method. A speech is just several parts or paragraphs as a whole: every part or paragraph is divided into sentences, every sentence is made of phrases, and every phrase is the accumulation of its constitutive words, which are its cardinal element. So, after the analysis of the whole, the same analysis used as a means and guide must be used for the rest of the procedure. Words, phrases and sentences will form an scale of examination and exercises.
An idea is a word that has been thought, and a word is an idea that has been expressed. So, they are voices as a representative sign of idea and thoughts.
You should get a significant number of selected words and try to keep them carefully in archives of your memory. But to know these words is not sufficient; you should consider and grasp them thoroughly in order to see accurately what thought has to be served.
Use of synonyms. You can increase the number of your words (wealth of an improviser) by considering synonyms. Synonyms replace many times a word that the orator has lost in a fateful moment.
Classification of words. An improviser also should classify words, by separating those that can express great and bold thoughts from those that announce soft and sweets ideas, and those that manifest joy from those that describe sorrow.
Proper and figured meaning of words. You should know both meanings and try continuous exercises. Morning is a part of the day; now move this voice to ages of man, and you will call morning of life to infancy, where everything smiles. When you say, “An honest man get always come consolation in adversity”, you are expressing a thought in the simplest way. But if you say, “To a righteous man, light appears in the dark”, you are expressing the same thought in a figured style: you introduce certain circumstance (“light of consolation”) by using the dark to present the idea of adversity. In relation to these figures of words, which have been called “tropes” and consist in using words to mean something different from an original and early sense, we are told that the figure must disappear by changing certain words. “To a righteous man, light appears in the dark”: there the trope consists in not taking literally for granted “light and darkness” but replaced by “consolation” and “adversity”, on account of some seeming similarity or analogy with these conditions of life. An improviser should exercise himself on this hidden relationship.
Also you should practice with metaphors and comparisons. Metaphor: one is comparing when we say that a minister holds up a State, like a column holding up the total weight of a building. But you are using a metaphor when you say that the same minister is “column of the State”.
A good exercise: take a book, read a paragraph, and later try to translate as much as possible the meaning of words and, by forming metaphors, do the same with the rest of tropes and comparisons which may be useful to embellish it.
Formation of sentences. The object of this part of the course is to get the student used to any oratorical expressions or movements; therefore, he should consider their thought figures as a whole. As with a music instrument, the scale will recall all tones.
First you should formulate a “period” based on whatever reasoning in exposition form and later in interrogation form, which, as we said, increases strength and energy in locution. Then you should lead the sentence back to its early form, and repeat these transformations until getting used your thought to formulate rapidly and suddenly any of these two ways of enunciation. You should practice and repeat the same exercises with all rhetorical above-explained forms.
Synthetic method. When an improviser uses the tribune, he should encompass with only one glance the entire speech that he is about to say, not in detail, because it is impossible, but schematically, in a rigorous order.
In order to acquire this “glance”, first of all you should form the logical speech, and then, you cannot formulate more easily the true oratorical speech that through the assistance of those means that you have obtained through rehearsals.
This logical speech must consist in writing down, on a piece of paper, cardinal, proposals that you wish to enunciate and link, and remaining totally aware of them.
10: Critical Synthesis of Style
Simplicity is the essential quality of all beauty: “simplex munditus”.
One of the first and more obvious distinctions in style is a consequence of the greater or lesser extension of author’s thoughts. This distinction forms a diffuse speech or a concise speech.
A concise style condenses thoughts and uses as little words as possible, uses just the most expressive words, and reduces any redundant expression that adds nothing essential to meaning. It does not discard adornments if and when they can reflect a more vivid style, but rather prefers those figures that give strength than grace. It never poses the same idea twice. In coordination of sentences rather takes care of brevity and strength of diction than of cadence and harmony in a sentence.
A diffuse style entirely develops its thoughts, places them with different aspects, and gives the audience any possible assistance for understanding them. Generally orators with this style love magnificence and amplification.
Usually a nervous style and a weak style are mistaken for concise style and diffuse style, and sometimes coincide with them. But it is not always so.
The way of thinking is cause of the author’s weakness or strength. If the author thinks strongly of an object, he will express it with energy, but if his perception is confused, if his ideas are hesitant, if because of his passion or haste is unable to understand properly that which he must communicate, his style patently suffers from these mistakes. Then you will find meaningless words and vague epithets. His expressions will be general, and his coordination confuse and vague.
Then you may grasp something of his sayings, but not understanding it entirely. A nervous author, however, may use a concise style or a diffuse style, but is able to reflect the strength and energy of his style to his thoughts.
A hard style comes from unusual words, forced inversions in the structure of sentences, and too much carelessness regarding a soft and easy construction.
As for adornment, it can be arid, plain, neat, elegant and select.
It is arid when excludes adornments of any kind, is forcefully didactic, and the orator just wants to be understood.
It is plain when raises one grade over the arid one. It seeks not only clarity but also appropriateness, purity and precision of language, which is beautiful and plausible.
It is neat when uses ornaments, but not the most brilliant. This orator does not underestimate beauty of language, but pays attention to select words and their gracious order, not to efforts of imagination or eloquence. His sentences are always neat and without superfluous words. His cadence is varied, but not with elaborate harmony.
It is elegant when its ornament is higher than that of neat style, and without excess or defect possesses all virtues of adornment itself. Its qualities are: clarity, appropriateness, purity in choosing words, care and ability as for its harmonious and exactly right coordination. It flatters fantasy and ears, and at the same time instructs.
It is select when it comes up too much rich and smart for the matter, and at the same time is continuous and dazzles with its tinsel. More often than not it is a vitiated and defective style.
Teaching 11: Verbal Hygiene
Besides recommendations about Method, and those short and valuable recommendations related to “Reserve”, the reader will find elements, motives and types of verbal hygiene.
Full vocabulary. Method: you should seek synonyms and antonyms of every word, in order to notice diverse nuances and meanings of any noun or adjective. 3. 3. You should look for ideas that can be associated in relation to whatever word. So, you need two reference books: an ordinary dictionary and another dictionary of similar ideas suggested by a word. Also an etymologic dictionary is recommended.
Also, for certain elasticity in language you should not only find out the expressive name of any object that you see, but also diverse adjectives related to different states and manifestations of such objects.
Self-analysis is quite important regarding an accurate use of words. Pay especial attention to words and sentences that give rise to ambiguities, mistaken interpretations of thoughts, or motive of irritation. In the first case, by lack of accurateness, and in the second, by lack of measure.
Redaction exercises. You should try to assimilate slowly a tale or Teaching of a novel, but not to remember their words. Then, lay the book aside and try to reproduce it through that which your memory has retained. Later, compare both works and consider closely every word.
Keep a text at sight and try to reconstruct the story with entirely different stories from those used by the author.
You should transcribe a play, mainly classical or contemporary, changing all words, but keeping the nature of every character established beforehand.
You should write a list of one hundred words and form sentences with them; later, associate words according to configuration, figured sense and logic, respectively. Read a tale and later make a synthesis of it (record-cards).
Diction. You should improve continuously the diction. For a reflective control of all your sayings, you should start checking every verbal expression.
Also you should watch and repress any tendencies to pronounce automatic words, that is, those words that you may manifest spontaneously when you are carried away by certain impulses.
So, lay aside exclamations, little formulae in vogue and repeated without a motive, and stop any verbal inflow as the result of vivid imagination, or emotion.
Also, you should never speak compulsively or talk unnecessarily. If you are talking to a quite voluble person, his too hasty conversation should not hasten your own sayings; never speak loudly or react impulsively to sharp remarks of the other person.
Also, you should banish regional voices, local accents and barbarisms. All this is dependent on attention and will for the sake of a correct language. You may get soon a perfect diction by avoiding with attention and will any regional accent and overcoming pronunciation vices generally motivated by particular habits derived from one’s childhood or from a particular mouth-palate conformation.
You will facilitate this self-control by avoiding all that can disarrange any automatism: trepidation food (excessive meat, alcohol, sugar and too much salt), proximity of excited or wrathful persons, useless discussions, stimulants (coffee, tea and tobacco). It is especially recommendable not to say anything beyond of your own control. Also previous to speaking, strive for thinking about the probable effect of your words.
Teaching 12: Voice
The voice organ seemingly is like sight-and-ear organs, but different from them by an essential point: sight and ear operate as a result of an involuntary act. If you open the eyes and there is light, you will see willy-nilly, and if you do not close the ears and there is noise, you will hear. On the contrary, the voice organ responds just by action of the will; you speak just when you wish to.
Also, you cannot see or hear more or less according to your wishes; you can see or hear only when you lay aside partially the action of external objects by means of an obstacle, a veil, between you and the outer world. But voice is differently: you can speak loudly or less loudly, more or less quickly; you regulate the voice function as if it were your own function. Therefore one can learn how to speak because this can be altered thanks to our will, to a reflective and constant control, and to accumulation of daily voice energy.
In the same way as the keyboard of a piano has several octaves, divided into three kinds of music notes (low, mean and high), whose sounds depend upon the size of its cords, also voice has its keyboard; two octaves, like the piano has six; three kind of notes and cords –thinner or thicker– like in a piano, and in the same way as you cannot play this instrument if you do not study it, also you cannot handle properly your voice without previous apprenticeship.
Your voice lacks clarity if it is quite acute, too much grave, guttural or nasal; then is its tiresome for the one that has it, and unpleasant to others.
So, you must speak with a mean tone.
For this purpose you can vocalize Mystical Solar Names registered in the course “Ceremonial of Cafh”.
Voice hygiene. To keep the fitness of your voice, a severe vocal and general hygiene is recommended for the specific function of the voice organs which must be free of external factors. You must maintain systematically healthy: nasal cavities, nasal pharynx , bronchial tubes, lungs, trachea, larynx, resonance system, lingual tonsil, palatine tonsil, et cetera. All this as an important complement to the basic reserve of vocal energy.
And now, some warnings about voice. First, you must not sing or speak when you suffer from a catarrh, cold and, especially, hoarseness, since the latter demands absolute voice rest. How many times professionals and even those whose vocal expressions lack indispensable measure, after an acute hoarseness, did not rest and went on speaking too much, finally remained indisposed long time, and sometimes their voice did not come back any more.
Desensitization against cold weather. One of the enemies to your voice is the cold weather. Many orators and singer are constantly afraid of catching a cold, of a draught, of their feet getting cold, et cetera.
According to medical experience, one can be immune against catarrhs and colds. An example of this are those who live in the open, sleep with open windows on the mountain as much in winter as in summer, wear little clothes and practice natural exercises.
In view of these facts, you should desensitize yourself against cold weather through some methods or systems, which will vary according to one’s nature, taking for granted a good state of aerial ways (nasal cavities, facial and frontal sinuses, tonsils and teeth), without any septic focus in nose, tonsils or teeth. Good desensitizers are: baths, cool douches after physical and respiratory exercises (hot baths are a mistake because turn you sensitive to cold and catarrhs).
It is recommendable to start this desensitization since childhood; when you are grown-up it will be proportionally more difficult to acquire new habits. During adolescence and maturity one should progressively train for cold water, but prudently. You should begin gradually on summer. It is recommendable a long friction (during gymnastics), and also the practice of some sports, and life in the open as much as possible.
It is recommendable in all a method of life and, if possible, by imitating the life lived by Sons of the Community.
Tobacco, alcohol and any stimulant are bad for your voice, but the most harmful –for people of this kind and for those who must live in an atmosphere full of smoke– is tobacco.
Remember, a sound sleep is image of good health, and one did not sleep well when we wake up and our voice is lightly veiled, heavy and seemingly dirty.
Heating is harmful because dries mucus of aerial ways; thence it turns them vulnerable and is a serious trouble for mucus with allergic tendency. It is recommendable to put recipients with water on radiators to humidify the environment. Flowers and perfumes are also harmful to voice.
On the other hand, according to physiology and pathology, there is a plain relationship between voice and sexual organs; this has been particularly said in the course about spiritual development.
Causes of vocal fatigue. A defective respiratory technique is the cause of certain voice troubles. You should learn how to breathe rightly. A high, clavicle breath produces suffocation, head congestion and larynx inflammation. Abdominal breath –motionless ribs and strong diaphragm movements– compresses abdominal organs, contracts lower abdomen muscles, articulations and larynx ligaments, whose object is to produce the basic sound. If there is a lesion, this delicate mechanism will change and produce vocal troubles.
A whole vibratory system, that is, that of larynx and vocal chords, is even more necessary for a vocal emission. If you study their mechanics, you can see that there is a quite delicate action of muscles, articulations and joints in the larynx, whose object is to produce the fundamental sound. If there is a lesion, then this delicate mechanics will be altered, and troubles in your voice will take place.
An improper voice is a defective technique that consists in not using duly the instrument.
Example: A lecturer speaks too low and demands too much from his voice, or uses a guttural and weak tone; then he resource to strength to make himself hear. The result is always the same: voice fatigue and larynx congestion. Why does this happen? Because he breaks laws of nature and acts against voice physiology and common sense, and did not know to remain limited by his own natural vocal instrument.
In short: any orator, professor or singer that gets tired is an individual that speaks or sings improperly. His vocal fatigue anticipates that he will lose the voice and is an alarm signal from his body, which he must hear and stop on time.
Teaching 13: Reading
Reading is important as a practice that can be applied to oratory, and also by itself too.
The technical part of the art of reading deals with two objects: voice and pronunciation, sounds and words.
Three sorts of voices (mentioned in the first part of the precedent Teaching), whose definition is: low, mean and high, are also indispensable to reading. The most solid, flexible and natural part is the mean one. Molé, a famous actor said in the matter: “You cannot reach immortality without the mean voice”. So, the first precept is that the mean voice should prevail on the exercise of reading; its way of finding it is mentioned above, even though you can find it with common sense and spirit of observation.
High chords are far more fragile and delicate. If you misuse them or play them quite frequently, then they wear out, get out of tune, become shrill and get out of order. Any misuse of low notes, and even of the grave, is not less fateful; it leads to monotony and comes up pale, dull and heavy.
So, mean voice, being ordinary, expresses the most natural and true feelings; on the other hand, low notes, because they are quite powerful, and high notes, because they are quite brilliant, should be used with extreme discretion, exceptionally.
Breath. Breath is life, but people breathe improperly. But to read properly you should read properly, and one cannot breathe properly without apprenticeship.
Just so an eolian harp vibrates through draughts, so also vocal chords need the air of your lungs condensed and transformed into necessary impulse in order to modulate notes that will become words.
So, breath-in and breath-out are modules that should be under control. If you have to read out long time, your lungs will need much air to spend later. A bad reader does not breathe-in enough and breathes-out too much; so, he dissipates energy without order and measure. He is like a prodigal; he does not know how to give largely his wealth on great occasions and to save it on little occasions. What happens? You can see it daily: a reader as well as an orator are daily forced to laborious efforts, to noisy and harsh breaths-in (whines, whimpers), which tire and upset not only the orator but also his audience.
Try this: light a candle and, close and before it, utter and sing the vocal “a”; then the flame will oscillate lightly; but if, instead of one sound you go through a scale, you will see always that your voice is trembling. Well, the singer Delle Sedie would sing an upward and downward scale in front of a candle, and the light would not oscillate. How? Because he emitted just necessary air to push the sound out; so the air used to emit a note loses its condition of wind and becomes voice. Ordinary beings waste air constantly.
Remember, all movements of the soul are treasures. So, save for the due time.
A high chair is fit to breathe-in and breathe-out freely. If you are comfortably seated in an armchair, you are unable to breathe-in from the bottom of your lungs. It is advisable to be quite straight. Finally, if possible, your back should be supported.
The following exercise is recommendable to learn how to read out: choose any line of eleven syllables:
“My love for Thee, my Lord, is not dependent...”
After a long breath-in, during the breath-out continue to emit distinctly the above-mentioned syllables. If these eleven syllables do not suffocate or disturb you, then try to say eighteen syllables with just one breath-out:
“My love for Thee, my Lord, is not dependent on the promise of your Heaven”. Later you may try twenty-four syllables. If necessary, you may start with just six syllables, but always slowly, four to five seconds to cover twelve syllables.
Finally, quite important: remember that punctuation rules comprise both reading and writing. You can notice it easily by observing punctuation in your reading. Many times a wrong coma as long as you read changes the sense of a sentence or blurs it totally.
Many times, as long as you read out, you grasp very clearly the text. It is like a revelation to your ears. Our eyes run through certain pages, overlook long paragraphs, and pass in a hurry through dangerous passages. But our ears hear all, do not jump, they are delicate, sensitive and anticipative: all this is out of the reach of our sight. This word, that our reading may overlook, suddenly acquires a colossal dimension through our ears; this sentence, hardly noticed, now rouses to fury.
Teaching 14: Historic Outline of Oratory
Quite rightly you may come to the conclusion that eloquence is the daughter of poetry. Homer sung his immortal Iliad in a time when orators were non-existent as for oratory as the art of persuading, reasoning and debating. But if this is true, it is also true that poetry and oratory have conquered empires.
To find the source of oratory you should not soar to the first ages of the world. On the first ages, language was seemingly fiery and metaphoric, partially because of the scarce number of words, and partially because of the hue that language has to take from the early condition of men stirred up by passions, and victims of strange and new events. But as long as relationships and communication were little frequent, and as long as strength and violence were instruments mainly to settle any dissension, the oratorical art, as persuasion, exposition and conviction, was far of being known.
Therefore, the art of persuasion is of course so natural in man, but oratory did not flourish with the same strength in all times and did not have always the same characteristics.
So, in old days, political oratory prevailed over the rest, and even judicial oratory followed this direction, since causes were related to great concerns of the State –reports about the government of a province, command of an army, administration of public funds, et cetera– today all this is not a common matter in judicial procedures. Sacred oratory excelled in the Middle Ages, and clear oratorical specialties come up just in modern times, prevailing at present their didactic nature in all of them.
Main times in oratory may be as follows: Greece, from Pericles until Macedonian and Roman domination; Rome, from Cato until after August; Greek and Latin Fathers of the Church; modern Christian Orators and Parliamentary Oratory, including English and French Revolution.
Greece. As early as epical (and more rightly dramatic) poets lead their characters to deliver speeches, and historians invent and assign to his men of State and Generals certain speeches and harangues that in such and such occasion they had given. So, in Homer’s poems you see heroes and chiefs speaking in oratorical terms, and even poetically.
As in the Iliad and Odyssey, the same happens in Herodotus’ History; this example follows for centuries because Greece, a country ruled and governed by orators, gave great importance to oratory, which later acquired quite great development, especially since the fifth century before Christ.
Over and above any other notable orator, the Greek history speaks of Solon, seemingly the first great orator, of Themistocles in the time of the Median Wars, and of Pericles in the following generation. Solon’s eloquence was grave and severe, but fiery and virile; Themistocles’ eloquence was of abundant and persuasive word; and the eloquence of Pericles –who gave his name to his time–was “fulminating”, as the ancients said.
The literary study of these two great orators of the antiquity –Themistocles and Pericles– is interesting; also, to see what an orator was before rhetoric itself that later had to reduce to detailed rules the exercise of this art, which for the former did not respond to any written rule.
In the times of Pericles we find Cleon, Alcibiades, Oethenas and Theramenes, three brilliant orators. Oratory came up as an art and teaching in Sicily , after the expulsion of the tyrants (by 465 b.C.) according to sayings of Aristoteles quoted by Cicero, and took form through Corax and Tisias, the former, true founder of the rhetoric, and the latter –his disciple– wrote a higher treatise than that of his master, which as a second revised and enlarged edition of Corax’ work.
After these writers we find the sophists, who weaken the function of oratory and transform it into an instrument or method to prove everything; for them the concept or meaning of words is important in se, because words lack any values.
The two most important sophists are Protagoras of Abdera (485-411) and Georgias Leontinus (486-380), who is known mainly through Plato, in his “Dialogues”, with quite notable reasoning to confuse sophists; so he causes to see harmful aspects of his art and scoffing at them with delicious comic wit. But, thanks to them, by way of compensation, the Greek creativeness has acquired extreme acuteness and refined language, by considering conscientiously all aspects and meanings of the words.
All those great classical orators remain over and above judicial orators who litigate and political orators. The list of the latter begins with Antiphon –a political and judicial orator– who, in his Tetralogies, offer ideas or matters of each speech behind four different aspects or categories; by constantly studying and serving a select intelligence, Antiphon removed from his speeches heaviness, subtlety, and bad taste, which was in vogue in those days.
Also as judicial orators Andocides (440-390) and the great Lisias acquire fame; Lisias, through h is speech against Eratosthenes –murderer of Polemarcus, brother of the orator– is an excellent model of accusation. And also we must remember Iseus, who had the glory of leading the first steps of Demosthenes.
Over these orators we find Isocrates, who is called the father of oratory, even though he never strove in a tribune. His oratory is reflective, and more than an orator he is a master of orators; he wrote always his speeches so that they serve as models to his disciples. He took particular care of the form, avoided the narrow limits of judicial oratory and the emphatic tone of the tribune, and forged the weapon that Demosthenes was able to wield later.
Demosthenes was the greatest orator of Greece and perhaps of the ancient world; with him the Greek political oratory disappeared along with the freedom of Athens.
His speeches, slowly and calmly composed, were delivered with extraordinary enthusiasm, and later written in order to extend their effect. He dealt matters with quite high aims, which in no way impeded to consider details of military organization and public administration. As for the form, his system was not fixed, and we find in his speeches short sentences, mordent and long sentences full of clauses and thoughts. Nobody surpassed him in the art of persuading the audience, and the greatest orators of all times are formed by reading his speeches. Along with such a great orator, we find brilliant orators like the witty and spiritual Hippiades and the austere Licurgus, and in front of him, his rival Eschines, with opposite qualities to those of Demosthenes; after Eschines, and far behind, Dinarcus, and then, Demades, endowed with fine irony.
According to Cicero in his book “About Learned Orators”, prior to be entirely vanished when the people stopped being free, the Greek oratory persisted through the illustrious tribune Demetrius Falereus (350-285 b.C.), whose speechs are unknown, and through Theophrastus, the last orator of free Greece. Much later, in the first century of our age, Dion, also called “Chrisostomos” or “Golden Mouth”, tried to renew and rejuvenate ancient ideas by taking Demosthenes as his model.
Rome: Even though Romans were less endowed than the Greek as for art and literature, circumstances of political life forced them to cultivate oratory.
In the beginning, as long as they did not know Greece, Roman eloquence was gross and tough and, for this reason, naive and passionate.
The Gracchi y and the old Cato were not formed at schools of the Greek rhetors but, in spite of it, they were able to move and persuade. Their form might be tough, but ultimately was excellent, and when rhetors of Greece opened schools in Rome, the Roman orators acquired at once certain missing qualities.
Political and judicial types were the most significant. Main characters of the judicial type were “urbanitas” and “gravitas”. The history of Roman oratory is divided into three periods, and the center of them is Cicero.
The pre-Ciceronian period includes Fabius, with sweet and elegant speech and manners; Scipio, distinguished by his vigorous and noble speech; Labeus, Galba, Emilius Lepidus, the two Lucii, Spurius, Mummius and Carbo; Tiberius Gracchus, with impetuous and vehement words; Lentulus, Decius, Drusus, Flaminius, Curius, Rutilius, Scaurus and Caius Graccus. In the latter one finds strong and vigorous dialectics along with a passionate speech; so his speeches aim at the intelligence and heart. And as judicial orators, Marcus Cornelius Cathegus, with a simple but quite persuasive strength; Cato the Censor, concise, meaningful and intense; Lucius Licinius Crasus and Marcus Antonius (grandfather of the triunvir); according to Marcus Tullius Cicero they were the first in Rome to raise eloquence to the level of Greece.
Cicero, a giant figure in the classical period of Roman literature, followed the example of other predecessors and the teachings of the Greek; during three years he traveled through Greece and Asia Minor in order to perfect himself in the oratorical art. He was a disciple of Molo. Of his famous judicial speeches, we must remember: pro Roscio Amerino, accused of parricide; pro Aulo Cluentio, accused of poisoning: pro Milone, accused of murdering Clodius; and pro Quinto Ligorio, an exiled Pompeian citizen. His always memorable political speechs are three about the agrarian Law, against Servilius Ruffus, who demanded certain distribution of Italian fields; four admirable oratorical pieces against Catilin, where the rhetor even gets carried away by fury; and fourteen philippics against Marcus Antonius, where he tries to confound his enemy at all costs. There are five speeches against Verres, partially judicial and partially political, which describe the social state of Rome, but Cicero seemingly delivered just the first of them.
Like all great orators of the antiquity, Cicero would prepare his speeches beforehand, and Tyro, his manumitted servant –seemingly the inventor of the shorthand– was copying Cicero’s speeches as long and he delivered them. Later Cicero would read, correct and publish them.
In “Brutus”, Cicero tells about Hortensius, a contemporary who rivaled with him, that his word was brilliant, fiery and vivid, and his style even more live and pathetic, as well as his action, and that he was endowed with an amazing memory, painstaking skill, high and clear exposition, fluent language, and sweet and sonorous voice. In the same golden period of Roman oratory we find: Calvus, with concise, nervous and pure, grave and firm style, like that of Athenian orators, but too much neat and elaborated; Asinius Polio, famous for his improvisations, with a more detailed and harmonious style than Calvus’; Caesar, with majestic diction; and Brutus, characterized by his gravity. However, all of them shared a virile, pure and vigorous eloquence.
After Cicero’s century, eloquence started declining through a declamatory style –redundant and stilted– and the young were sent to Asia, where rhetors taught them a new oratory. The Asian school, partially Greek subtlety and partially Western pomp, was seemingly quite attractive, but actually of bad taste: neither natural nor simple, but certainly diffuse and ostentatious, would try to astonish and surprise with out-of-the-way metaphors and superfluous adornments.
Of this period, in the time of Nero, just Domicius Apher deserves especial mention: he was fiery and intense, and his speeches, with gracious and ironic remarks, were always heard with pleasure. Along with him, although on lower level, Crispus Pasienus, Decimus Lellius and Julius Africanus. Later, Plinius the Young, disciple of Quintillian, and Tacitus, the historian; but in this time the forum was so dissolute that Plinius was ashamed of the depraved and effeminate style used in the Court of the Centumvirs, and Martial would ridicule the craze for useless quotations and out-of-the-way digressions.
Of the quite few cultivators of the pure Roman eloquence, there are some Spaniards, like M. Portius Latron and Seneca. The last notable Roman orator is the eloquent defender of the paganism, Quintus Aurelius Simmacus, who contended with Saint Ambrose about re-establishing the altar of the Victory at the Senate.
Greek and Latin Fathers of the Church. They should be taken as forerunners of the sacred orator, who through Christian preaching reached a higher artistic level than the profane oratory in those days, along with the prophetic books of the Bible, which are true speech by virtue of their purpose and form.
To characterize and define the oratory of the prophets you should keep in mind that it cannot be implied in any religious oratorical type definitely and specifically, since this oratory is partially religious and partially political. Those men were filled with spirit of God, and not only announced the advent of the Messiah and the coming change, but also political troubles that the people of Israel had to undergo; they warned and admonished this people regarding their behavior, by prophesizing a foreign invasion, the loss of their freedom, and all characteristic evils of decadent peoples. That is why, on the next Teaching, when we deal with this point, this oratory has been defined as “supernatural” for its very nature.
Since the first times of the Christian Church, the sacred eloquence was being formed and developed. The following orators deserve especial quotation: Saint Justine and Clement of Alexandria, who delivered their sermons in Greek, and Tertulian, Arnobius of Licca and Lactantius, in Latin. The greatest figure, before the fourth century of our age –the golden century of the sacred eloquence– was Saint Hieronymus, encyclopedic man, great scholar and genial writer.
In fourth century great propagandists of Christ’s teachings come up and the most outstanding are: Saint Basil, who celebrates greatly and severely the power of God; Saint Gregory of Nyssa, whose exhortation to love the poor has been imitated by the best sacred orators; and Saint John Chrysostomos (“Golden Mouth”), who renewed considerably the classical forms of the Greek eloquence by creating a sort of universal language understandable and pleasant to everybody.
“Orators who precede Saint John Chrysostomos are orators of the fight”, say the writer Navarro y Ledesma. “Saint John is the Orator of the Victory”.
In the Latin Church, besides Saint Hilary, Saint Ambrose and Saint Hieronymus, the outstanding figure is Saint Augustine, a true genius of the Christian religious expression; in spite of some defects of his age, he is one of the highest intelligences, fillings and ideas that ever existed.
These well-known orators, who lived in a time of continuous fight and riots, would use a fiery and passionate eloquence, which sometimes was simple and popular, sometimes elegant and philosophical, and sometimes political.
In fifth and sixth century, Saint Leo and Saint Gregory (apostle of the barbarian) took the lead, respectively, as for the Christian eloquence. And in Spain, at the top of the list you find Just, Severe, Saint Leander and Saint Isidore.
Modern Christian orators. The invasion of the barbarian caused the extinction of the eloquence along with all other literary types and fine arts, which re-appear much later.
But in eleventh century there are qualified orators gathering multitudes and, therefore, eloquent in their own way; this is why Peter the Hermit and other preachers of the Crusades thrust thousands of men toward the conquest of the Holy Sepulcher. Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Domingo de Guzmán and the Beatus Jordan of Saxony congregated multitudes and universities with their sermons.
The Renaissance did not revive the classical eloquence and, although the Reformation and its enemies, and even Savonarola are fighting with the word, their oratorical forms have little or nothing of rhetoric. Just on the eighteen century oratory acquires again its lost brilliance and splendor, and the French eloquence took the lead in matter.
During the kingship of Louis XIV, the sublime Bossuet, the fiery Bourdalone, the witty Flechier, the sweet Fenelon, the passionate Massillon, and many other have flourished; they did not appear by chance simultaneously: the sacred pulpit is enlightened in this way because those men –indubitably endowed with natural talents– were exercising rules set up by Francis of Sales, by the father of the Ligendes, and by some other Jesuits, and by the abbot of Saint-Cyran and abbots of Port Royal, because all of them coincided as for the essence of an orator.
In Germany, the most famous orators of the Reformation were Luther and Melanchton, and in England, as sacred orators, Tillotson and Blair. In Italy, the figure of the Father Segnery is sufficient to raise the sacred oratory to a brilliancy that, except Spain, some few nations were able to surpass. In Portugal, we find the outstanding figure of the Father Antonio Vieira, one of the glories of the Company of Jesus.
Although the sacred eloquence prevails over the rest of oratorical types, also the public oratory and judicial oratory wake up and gather strength; so, a new form or oratory is born: the academic oratory.
The academic oratory offer few meritorious models, but one of them is the admirable reply of Racine to the speech of reception delivered by Corneille.
Parliamentarian oratory. First epoch: The English Revolution. For a right evaluation, it is necessary to know that there were three different schools, related to three different types of orators. One of them was the witty and elegant school of the Court: seemingly Shakespeare belongs to it, and Walter Scott wrote a witty parody in one of his romances; another school, that of the ancient philosophy, was strange or, rather, hostile to ideas of the time; and there was another eloquence related to the idea reformation everywhere, although still rude and imperfect.
With approximate truth, the English revolution produced nothing more than two great orators: Strafford and Cromwell. Strafford, a great and passionate man, later executed, underwent sorrowful deceptions and the weakness and ingratitude of Charles I. In spite of all this, he was quite brave and defended himself by means of a wonderful speech against thirteen different accusers during seventeen days.
Cromwell was the interpreter and god of the puritan eloquence: Puritanism of virtue, detachment and martyrdom.
Voltaire, with a splendid speech praises the eloquence of Cromwell and finally says: “Just one movement of that hand that had won so many battles and killed so many Royalists, would produce more effect than every sentence of Cicero”.
In the well-known Pitt and the opulent Fox, their eloquence was more brilliant and advantageous. The latter, at age 19, is appointed by the Parliament, but was able to get rid of all this and several times made hear his voice by defending the law and Catholic people.
Second epoch: French Revolution. The greatest picture of modern eloquence can be found in the French Revolution, an event that, along with Luther’s Reformation, has shared the admiration of the world. Which was its character? Like that of Poland, amid riots, anarchy and war? Like that of Greece and Rome? Not at all. Its type was new, particularly in the wake of its literary, philosophic and esoteric style.
This new type of eloquence is greater, more daring and more systematic than the rest of eloquence modes so far known; Mirabeau, Virgniadu, Barnave, Desmoulins, Robespierre, and so many others acquainted the world with the vividness and strength of that word inflamed by ideals.
Also military men like Napoleon, politicians like Royèn-Collard, Benjamin Constant, the General Foy, Casimiro Ferier. Thiers, Guizot, Lamartine, Jocqueville, Montalembert and Gambetta, and lawyers like Berager, Dufaure and Favre occupy a high position in the history of the French oratorical art.
As for the Spanish parliamentarian oratory, the most representative at the end of nineteenth century and beginning of twentieth century there were at the same time men of constructive politics in Spain. Among others, Salustiano de Olózaga (1805-1873); Antonio Cánovas del Castillo (1828-1897); Cristino Martos y Balbi (1830-1893); Francisco Pi y Margall (1824-1901; Nicolás Salmerón y Alonso (1838-1908); José Canalejas Méndez (1854-1912); Juan Donoso Cortés (1809-1853); Emilio Castelar y Ripoll (1832-1899); Juan Vázquez de Mella y Fanjul (1861-1928); José Echegaray e Isaguirre (1833-1916); Segismundo Moret y Prendergast (1838-1913); Antonio Maura Montaner (1853-1925); Melquíades Alvarez González Posada (1864-1936); and Ramón Nocedal y Romea (d. 1907).
Teaching 15: Preaching in the Christian Church.; its Orthodoxy
Preaching (pro aperto dicere) is a legitimate dispensation of the word of God. Also one has to understand it as the oral transmission of a doctrine through its authoritative ministers. So, the body of the doctrine responds to rules, precepts and principles that its agent will convey as a whole and with fidelity. The doctrine –the word is the link in the mystique of preaching– will be based on, and increased and kept through revelation.
In this sense, the Christian Church gave capital importance to preaching, which, as the necessary means conveying the doctrine, is set up by Jesus himself and trusted, as main mission, to apostles and successors, under the instruction of teaching it to the people, and under the order of preaching the gospel of which he confesses to be a preacher here on Earth, because just so as he was sent, so he sends his disciples.
The need of preaching was one of those things that led the apostles to create deacons so that the former can devote more intensely to preach. So, preaching is the main mission of the successors of the apostles, and they must not abandon it for the attention of other tasks. They can be assisted in this mission, but just as assistants, not as substitutes, except a legitimate impediment.
This was understood in this way since the establishment of the Roman Church, and the Fathers, Canons and Councils assign constantly to Bishops the ministry of preaching. Saint Hilary, Saint Hieronymus and Saint Augustine constitute this ministry. In Rome until the Pope Leo, in Africa until Saint Augustine, and in the East until Saint John Chrysostomos, preaching kept the character of that from the times of persecution, and consisted of talks, exhortations and family instructions, without preparation, previous writings or copies. Saint Gregory of Nyssa was one of the first whose sermons contained the art and beauty of the eloquence; so there were copyists that kept them.
In a letter to Maximus of Antioch and Theodorus of Cyrus, the Pope Leo states that the early authority to preach in that church is reserved to Bishops. Preaching remained the essential duty of Bishops for centuries henceforward.
In this sense, Cessareus of Alés is an outstanding figure: he discharges all temporal concerns on his deacons, and leads other Bishops to follow him. When in the wake of his old age he was unable to preach his own sermons, made them read by his priests and deacons, along with Saint Ambrose’s and Saint Augustine’s sermons.
This is so important in this church that laymen cannot preach at all since the beginning. Gregory IX decrees and orders this universal prohibition to the Bishop of Milan, on pain of excommunication to those who preach publicly or privately. A curious detail: some few kings have preached because they were supposedly learned, fervent Christians, anointed by the Lord , and also personally anointed by the Pope or his Bishops.
Preaching is always extremely important for the Catholic Church because several Councils have set up rules (for example, regulations of the Council of Trent and others; of Toledo; of Sens; and rules of the Sacred Consistorial Congregation of June 28th, 1917).
In the Orthodox Church, preaching responds to rules like those of the Catholic Church, and individual licenses given by a Bishop are required to preach.
According to Protestants, preaching is the most important part of their cult, and finally the Low Chamber of the Anglican Ecclesiastical Parliament, on February 14th, 1922, permitted the women to preach in gatherings. Except in England, ordination is not required to preach; it is sufficient certain knowledge and to be a pastor.
Everything regarding preaching as a whole. As for the specific “sacred preaching”, it is an oral teaching of revealed verities and an exhortation to practice virtues; its object is to persuade, that is, to enlighten the intelligence and move the will according to the latter.
Sacred oratory and sacred preaching are not the same. Sacred oratory contains rules as whole in order to preach eloquently, and sacred preaching is just the practice of the said rules. According to Saint Augustine, this type of sacred preaching comprises a double principle: divine and human. The divine principle implies three elements: mission, doctrine and assistance. The human principle is the preacher, who can carry out properly his mission should not forgets those rules that are the oratorical art; also he must know the sources of his own preaching. An illustration of this is the encyclical of Benedict XV to Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops and the rest of hierarchy on June 15th, 1917.
Teaching 16: Supernatural Oratorº1y of Biblical Prophets
“Seemingly, people of Florence are not ignorant or rude; but Fray Girolamo Savonarola has persuaded them that he would talk to God. And I do not want to judge if this was true or not, because one has to speak about such a man with reverence; but I dare say that many persons believed him and did not see anything extraordinary to make them believe it: because his life and the doctrine and matter that he would posed were sufficient to trust him”, Nicolò di Bernardo Macchiavelli says in his “Discorsi” in relation to the man who prophesized the death of Lorenzo de Medici, the Magnificent, and of the Pope Innocent, and also the arrival of a new Cyrus to Italy. Although the audience of the Prior of Saint Mark did not notice in those days if the prediction about the death of Lorenzo the Magnificent might be witnessed by that generation, the attitude of Fray Hieronymus was that of a prophet even though not openly manifested. His biographer properly says, figure, gesture and tone were those of an inspired man; and when he would speak about a future punishment, his voice, gestures and over all his intimate conviction, would penetrate powerfully into the spirit of his audience.
Here one has to emphasize rather the presence of a “prophetic voice” than the prophecy itself. Prophecy is out of the reach of this part of the course about supernatural oratory, after considering the ordinary one.
Perhaps neighbors of Florence were interested in the historical proof of the prophecy of Fray Hyeronimus –this occurred one century later– but the message, transformation and Savonarola’s divine vibration touched the most intimate and most fundamental zone of this people and one can easily determine that, at such moment, because of its character, the historical proof is beyond ordinary restrictions and becomes supernatural oratory.
According to the New Testament, the Apostles would speak all languages. The strength of their oral prayers, that had been uttered for four forty consecutive days, had formed so strong vibration that they were in a position to understand a word through a simple vibratory movement. Naturally those forty consecutive days of permanent prayer are flowing from the inspired heart of God, and the Word has to take the same Fohatic characteristic of that of the prophets, of the old as well as of the new alliance; and it is exactly in this “people of God”, in Israel, where the supernatural oratory, the prophetic oratory emerges in abundance through their four highest Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel.
In those times when the Israelites were expecting his Messiah, they had entirely in mind Moses’ words and predictions of the Deuteronomy: “the Lord shall bring a prophet among your people and among your brothers, who shall be like me, and you shall hear him”. And perhaps Israel, more than any other nation on earth, deserves to be called the people of prophetic oratory par excellence.
Wonderful people, indeed, where fathers, like Zacharias, announce to their children that in their tongues the venturous and terrible fire of great announcements will burn, like those of Saint John the Baptist! These beings –who convey to men revelations received from God– have the highest hierarchical oratory and, although Paul of Tarsus places the Apostles in first place, there are good reasons to assume that the Good News was conveyed in an apostolic, prophetic and indissoluble way.
Certainly, according to the Holy Book, a prophet is not only he who foresees and foretells future things, but also he who speaks in the name of God or instead of God, and as an interpreter of God: “See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. Thou shall speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land”. (Exodus VII: 1-2). “And thou shall speak unto him [Aaron] and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do” (Exodus IV:15).
There are three notable institutions in the people of Israel: kings, priests and prophets. The royal power was connected with the tribe of Judah, family of David; the priesthood to the tribe of Levi, family of Aaron. But the prophetic mission was dependent only upon the choice of God.
So, Jeremiah and Ezekiel were priests; Isaiah was not a priest, but probably belonged to the tribe of Judah. There were rich and noble prophets, as Isaiah seemingly was; there were poor prophets, as Amos, who was a shepherd and cowherd; there were prophets among men and women (women were not excluded from this ministry); and also there were prophetesses as Hannah, mother of Samuel; Deborah, Holdah and others.
So, no natural inclination, or science, or instruction, or preparation is required for the prophetic charge or ministry; for example, Eliseus (Elishah), who was a peasant or plowman, and Amos, who was a cowherd, because God –who is the cause of prophecy– can give this inclination at will.
Even an especial inclination or willingness is not required for prophecy. So Isaiah offers himself to the Lord for a prophetic mission; Moses and Jeremiah excuse and refuse it; and Jonah escapes. Even charity and good habits are not required. So Balaam was a bad person, but seemingly a good prophet of God; and, according to John, Caiphas prophesized. Naturally, charity perfects and knowledge extends the prophecy, and additions embellish prophecies.
As many think, this magnificent oratory is not characterized by prophesized facts that come to be true by the inner enlightenment of the understanding, which God makes to his disciples through the prophet, since men are only able to describe things to his devotees through outer words and signs, but not through an intimate revelation. And the prophet knows when it is he and when it is the breath of God that his mouth conveys..
As for credentials given by God to the prophets as His authentic ambassadors, there are three: their life and preaching, their miracles, and their prophecies.
Of course, prophets of Israel could not be depraved, perverse and discredited men before their people. They were selected among men of holy life; pure and irreproachable habits; strong and brave spirit; clear, daring and determined preaching for the sake of the truth; and free of adulation, servileness, covetousness and self-interest. Besides these especial gifts of life and preaching, there were other extraordinary signals, such as miracles made by Elias (Elijah) and Eliseus (Elishah), and that of Isaiah healing Ezechias and anticipating his cure. A third signal: sometimes their prophecies came actually true and caused them great disgusts and troubles
Of the prophets of the Old Testament, Samuel is the great seer of Israel; David is the king-prophet (according to his last expressed words; see this in his Psalms); Solomon is a quite learned king who obtained his wisdom from God. And Elias (Elijah) and Eliseus (Elishah) were two great notable servants of God by virtue of their predictions and miracles.
According to the nature of this course, we do include here prophet-writers that left their oracles and prophecies by writing, for example, those who composed prophetic psalms: Moses, David, Solomon, Aseph. Eman, Etam, and Korah’ sons.
According to the learned, in synagogues, Moses is over and above the great prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezechiel and Daniel, and the Talmud says that Moses was the only who beheld the pure truth, while le rest just glimpsed it, as it were, reflected on a tarnished mirror. According to the fathers of the Talmud, the Moses’ revelation includes entirely any later prophecies.
Also we can observe an explanation of the prophetic act, through certain inner process, in Maimonides and his theology.
Oracles are of different nature, because they do not keep a relationship, as the prophetic voice, with the supernatural oratory, even though oracles have set up true political, juridical and religious communities. This took place in the Greek-Roman oratory through pythians and pythonesses, or through the oracle in the temple of Amon, which was the most famous in and out of Egypt: true armies of devotees went to this temple and heard the answer of the divinity.
But...which is the characteristic of the new word, of the luminous logos of the announced Sakib’s day? Which will be the form of the eternal Word for the transmission of the Good News? Son, go to the profound cell of your silence, absorb yourself into the innermost absoluteness of your heart, where time and space are non-existent, and talk to Him who knows the number and measure of the Universe. Then you will hear the voice of the new Initiates that will teach you exact words of mercy, justice, love and beauty so that you pour them humbly on the sorrowful hearts that are in search for the New Dawn in a world of shadows.
Teaching1: Eloquence and Oratory
Teaching 2: Anatomy of the Speech. Oratorical Rules and Precepts
Teaching 3: Figures of Words and Thoughts
Teaching 4: Formation of the Speech
Teaching 5: Ideas, Order, Forms and Words in the Speech
Teaching 6: Speech and Orator
Teaching 7: Reflections about the Application of the Above-mentioned
Teaching 8: Several Types of Eloquence
Teaching 9: Improvisation
Teaching 10: Critical Synthesis of Style
Teaching 11: Verbal Hygiene
Teaching 12: Voice
Teaching 13: Reading
Teaching 14: Historic Outline of Oratory
Teaching 15: Preaching in the Christian Church; its Orthodoxy
Teaching 16: Supernatural Oratory in Biblical Prophets