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By Beth Maclay Doriani

How do ladies, traditionally excluded from the function of preacher due to their gender, achieve authority to imagine a prophetic voice? What rhetorical ideas can empower the girl who may declare the function of prophet?

In this booklet, Beth Maclay Doriani appears to be like on the methods Emily Dickinson addressed those questions within the context of patriarchal nineteenth-century New England. She explores many of the critical thoughts Dickinson used to assert either poetic and spiritual authority and to affix the ranks of the self-proclaimed prophets of her day―literary figures like Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman, in addition to a bunch of preachers and different renowned orators.

Dickinson drew at the prophetic culture she knew top: the Judeo-Christian legacy that integrated either scriptural prophetic writings and the preaching of nineteenth-century Protestantism. Remarkably, the voice that emerged according to those patriarchal assets was once tremendously lady. regardless of entrenched cultural competition to the belief of the lady prophet, Dickinson was once capable of craft her personal realizing of the feminine seer, constructing a unique voice that not just indicts but in addition sings, consoles, and wonders.

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As she well knew, poetry has been associated with prophecy for centuries, both as written and as sungan emphasis that the romantic poets of Dickinson's age renewed. In classical times, poets were identified with the divine, seen as the mouthpieces of the gods because they composed under divine inspiration. Giving their oracles in song, poets in ancient times were often regarded as seers or priests, when they guided people in the ways of life through their oracles. In the biblical tradition as well, prophecy is associated especially with sung poetry.

118:14). When the prophet Miriam led her choral dance at the same defeat of the Egyptians, she repeated part of Moses'victory hymn in her song (Exod. 15:20). King David, understood as the writer of the Book of Psalms, also exemplifies the intersection between poetry, prophecy, and song. Calvin habitually referred to him as "the Prophet," influencing generations of Calvinists to consider the prophetic spirit of many of the Psalms. By generations of believers after Calvin (including conservative audiences of Dickinson's day), David was at the same time looked to as modeling a sanctified poetics, the exemplar for anyone aspiring to write verse acceptable to God.

17 William Perkins, a seventeenth-century Puritan minister and rhetorician, assumed Calvin's identification of preaching with prophecy in calling one of his studies of preaching The Arte Prophecying, or A Treatise Concerning the Sacred and Onely True Manner and Method of Preaching (1592; translated in 1607). This text shaped views of homiletics even into the nineteenth century. One hundred or so years after Perkins, Jonathan Edwards still assumed the extension of prophecy in preaching, urging preachers, in one of his ordination sermons, to imitate the "great prophet" John the Baptist, who was a "burning and shining light" in his ardor and clarity of teaching.

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