Current histories of rhetoric neglect the early Christian period (ca. 30–430 CE) in several crucial ways–Augustine is overemphasized and made to serve as a summary of Christian thought rather than an endpoint, the texts of church fathers before 300 CE are neglected or lumped together, and the texts of the New Testament are left unexamined. An alternative outline of early Christian rhetoric is offered, explored through the angles of political self-invention, doctrinal ghostwriting, apologetics, and fractured sermonization. Early Christianity was not a monolithic religion that eventually made peace with classical rhetoric, but as a rhetorical force in its own right, and comprised of more factions early on than just the apostolic church.

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