General Introduction
– What’s on the blog?
– Listener feedback

Plato Gets Hostile
– Nathan explains Weaver
– Why does Plato hate rhetoric?
– Structure vs. content
– What is pleasant and what is good
– Giving the sophists a bad name

Weaver’s Platonic Allegory
– Farmer gets insulting
– Interpretation of the performances
– Good lovers, bad lovers, and non-lovers
– Hook-up culture
– Divine madness and lovesickness
– The move toward something higher and better
– Is Weaver overly simplistic?
– The return to sophistry

Weaver, Plato, and the Soul
– Rhetoric’s proper effect
– The Divine Mind
– Rhetoric and dialectic
– Weaver’s philosophical relativism

The Discourse of Business and the Discourse of the Poet
– Is this dichotomy out of date?
– Shop talk and the pitch
– Official style
– Scientific histrionics
– Is flat rhetoric active or passive?
– Academic BS

Analogy and Truthful Exaggeration
– Talking about things that are not yet
– Richard Weaver reads Hebrews
– Why it’s important to define the good

Teaching Composition
– The problem with Freshman Comp
– Assigning Phaedrus
– How to use the dialectic of good in the classroom
– Sneaking it into nonsectarian schools
– Nathan’s Plato/Boethius class




Derrida, Jacques. Dissemination. Trans. Barbara Johnson. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1983.

Frankfurt, Harry G. On BS. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton UP, 2005.

Plato. Gorgias. Trans. Chris Emlyn-Jones and Walter Hamilton. New York: Penguin, 2004.

—. Phaedrus. Trans. Christopher Rowe. New York: Penguin, 2005.

Weaver, Richard M. Language Is Sermonic: Richard M. Weaver on the Nature of Rhetoric. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1985.

4 thoughts on “The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #43: The Phaedrus and the Nature of Rhetoric”
  1. Good show fellas. I for one am really glad that you are spending time specifically on the subject of rhetoric, which one can find in college english programs but that is about it. Specifically for the Christian I think rhetoric is a very useful subject but is unfortunately overlooked. I couldn’t agree more on the state of much “critical” writing in the humanities. Much of that kind of critical output has reduced the humanities (whether literature, art, or philosophy) to very dry topics indeed. Looking forward to the next discussion about scientific social rhetoric. I was also curious if you’re thinking of discussing philisophical rhetoric. Perhaps comparing the dryness of Kant or Heidegger to the fervor of Nietsche or the deep meditational style of Camus. hang tough,


  2. There seems to be a problem with downloading this episode…it keeps saying that I do not have permission to access the file, which is a real shame because I am very interested in this one in particular.

    1. SPRieley Are you going through iTunes, the FeedBurner feed, or some other source?  It’ll be easier to treat if I can locate where the bad download is happening.

    2. SPRieley Never mind; I found the problem.  Our web space was attacked some time ago, and the program or person reset several of the site’s file-permission settings.  You should be able to download it now.

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