The Sermon of Melito of Sardis (d. 190): “On the Passover”

Formerly it was thought that Christian rhetoric did not begin until the fourth and fifth centuries. The discovery, however, of a sermon by Melito, bishop of Sardis, known as “On the Passover” suggests that a tradition of skilled rhetoric and sermon construction had begun earlier. Melito’s sermon carefully blends typology, analogy, and parallelism. Scholars now believe that two distinctive styles of preaching existed in the second century: the unstructured, informal homily of the lay person and the highly developed oration typified in “On the Passover.”

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