James Herrick Writes Book on
English Deists' "Radical Rhetoric"

Posted September 9, 1997

          HOLLAND -- James Herrick of the Hope College
  communication faculty has had his book "The Radical Rhetoric
  of the English Deists:  The Discourse of Skepticism, 1680-
  1750" published by the University of South Carolina Press.
          The book examines the Deists' approach to
  challenging the Church of England's doctrine that biblical
  accounts of miracles were literally true.  The controversy
  rocked England, according to Herrick, and also had an impact
  on Continental Europe and Colonial America, because such
  accounts, including that of Christ's resurrection, were
  central to the faith.
          Herrick holds that Deism--a philosophy embraced by
  many of the Founding Fathers--generally owes its lasting
  significance to the rhetorical skill and persistence of the
  early Deists who challenged the church's teaching, despite
  the potential of imprisonment.
          Lester C. Olson of the University of Pittsburgh
  calls Herrick's book "An important contribution to
  scholarship on rhetoric and religion because it examines the
  role of reason and evidence in issues dividing the Deists
  and Anglicans in matters of Christian spirituality.  It
  sheds light on the role that style and evidence--especially
  ridicule and testimony--played in the controversy."
          Herrick, who is also chair of the department of
  communication at Hope, has been conducting research on the
  topic since working on his dissertation for the doctorate he
  completed in 1986.  He has received support for his research
  through a variety of grants and awards, including a
  prestigious "Summer Stipend" awarded by the National
  Endowment for the Humanities in 1992, believed to be the
  first made to a Hope professor.
          Since joining the Hope faculty in 1984, he has
  presented more than 20 papers at professional conventions
  and has had  numerous articles appear in scholarly and
  popular publications.  He is the author of three other books
  concerned with argumentation or rhetoric:  "The History and
  Theory of Rhetoric:  An Introduction" (1996),
  "Argumentation:  Understanding and Shaping Arguments" (1995)
  and "Critical Thinking:  The Analysis of Arguments" (1991).
          Herrick has been a member of the Hope faculty
  since 1984.  He earned a B.A. from California State
  University in 1976 and an M.A. from the University of
  California in 1978, in addition to the Ph.D. he completed at
  the University of Wisconsin in 1986.

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