Although conventional views about late nineteenth-century rhetoric highlight a shift from oratory to composition and from classical rhetoric to a “new” rhetoric with origins in Scottish rhetoricians (with a loss of scholarship and quality), James M. Hoppin's Homiletics can be grouped with an increasing number of works that complicate such views. Hoppin focuses on oratory; reveals an especially broad and scholarly knowledge of classical, religious, and foreign rhetorics; uses a complex of ideas called “uniformitarianism” to justify his primary focus on classical rhetoric; and achieves high quality. His concept of invention has both classical and Christian roots in a complex relationship reflecting both scope and narrowness.

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