ŉ Retories-kritiese studie van die verhaal van Bashir (Leiden Oriental Ms 951(2))
Le Roux, Christiaan
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The story of Bashir is a text that reflects a polemical conversation between a Muslim and Christians. It takes place between the 7th and 8th centuries A.D. during the Umayyad Caliphate when a war was waged between the Byzantium and Islam. Bashir, who was taken from Byzantium to a Muslim country as a young child and raised Muslim, fled back to his home country as an adult where he adopted the religion of his ancestors, namely Christianity. He became a confidant of the emperor and was tasked with interrogating and ultimately converting a Muslim prisoner, the Sheikh Wasil of Damascus, to Christianity. Sheikh Wasil however, takes control of these conversations with Bashir and later other Christians including a priest with a reputation as a reputable orator, the king of Byzantium himself and a second priest, likely the patriarch of Constantinople. The story proclaims that the Christians could not refute any of the sheikh’s arguments and Wasil ultimately proves that Islam is the true religion. The aim of this study is a rhetorical analysis of the story of Bashir, which assessed the strategies that the story’s author used to convince his readers of his ideological point of view. The methodology used for this study includes an initial determination of the analytical unit, followed by a translation of the text. Thereafter, a syntactic and lexical-semantic assessment of the analytical unit was performed to stabilise the text, followed by a determination of the proposition. A pragmatic analysis was then conducted to determine the author of this story’s communicative strategy, followed by the identification of the story’s context both in terms of the sensory perceptible and non-perceptible world. Lastly, the real and alternative text worlds were determined, as well as the trans-universal relationship between these worlds, which takes the reader from the real to the alternative text world. The results of this study are divided into the following main categories, namely the main ideas that the author wanted to communicate; the strategies used by the author to persuade the reader to accept these ideas; the elements that form part of each of these strategies and the possible impacts each of these elements may have on readers The main ideas that were identified include the fact that God functioned behind the screens and everything that happened, was determined by Him. Jesus was a human being and should not be worshipped as God. Christianity is a false religion and Christians are evil. Muslims on the other hand are good and God is on the side of the Islam, the true religion. The study finds that the author made a considerable effort to create the perception of historical reliability and applied different strategies to keep the reader’s attention. The author used these strategies to build a relationship of trust between the reader and a character who has been presented as someone who represents the ultimate truth. Various styles of arguments were used to convince the reader that the author has a higher level of knowledge and should be trusted. These styles of arguments include logical, emotional, and authoritarian polemical conversations. Conclusively, the text was exposed as an aggressive form of propaganda, which aims to convince readers of the author’s ideological point of view and inspire them to continue the struggle of the one true religion – Islam.
- Theology