Letter from Birmingham Jail

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Nation Murray
1/5/11
Period 1
Letter from Birmingham Jail Assignment

1. Identify a list of biblical allusions King uses in this essay. Explain how these allusions to biblical figures and events appeal to both ethos and pathos.

“Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their thus saith the Lord far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco-Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.”

Thus saith the lord is directly quoted from Jeremiah 29. This whole portion alludes back to the prophets of the lord going around and spreading the word of the gospel which shows how King feels about the spreading of the word. He obviously feels that the word he is spreading is ethical in the fact that it brings people together in unison and that it is the way to salvation. He also mentions the apostle Paul proving that he was alluding to the bible and those days.

“With his black brothers of Africa and his brown and yellow brothers of Asia, South America and the Caribbean, the United States Negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward the promised land of racial justice.”

King was alluding to the Promise Land in the Bible which was promised by God and which Moses led the Hebrews to. This would be an example of Pathos as well because speaking of a promise land would cause someone to think of the benefits of it and think of the happiness it would bring as well.
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