An Analysis of the Theory of "Argumentation" in Imam Reza's Debate with the Exilarch

Article Type:
Research/Original Article (دارای رتبه معتبر)
The dawn of a new era has brought significant advancements in various linguistic domains, particularly in the field of argumentation theory. This theory encompasses the analysis and synthesis of arguments, evidence, and reasoning, making a substantial contribution to scholarly investigations and compilation of knowledge on this subject. The renewed interest in rhetoric and its relevance in contemporary linguistic studies can be attributed to the favorable circumstances created by the field of pragmatics. As a result, there is now a renewed focus on the strategies of argumentation and their role in shaping discourse. Rhetoric primarily emphasizes the argumentative goal and persuasive source within human communication. The main objective of the new rhetoric, a theoretical framework centered on argumentation, is to examine linguistic strategies that aim to evoke emotions and captivate intellectual faculties through the presentation of arguments. Moreover, it aims to shed light on the circumstances that give rise to arguments within discourse. The function of argumentation holds a prominent position among linguistic functions, being equally significant as other language functions, such as notification, communication, and human language. The debate surrounding Imam Reza can be characterized as an oral discourse (speech), in which the speaker endeavors to convey his/her intellectual findings to the audience through the use of linguistic connections and various methods of evidence, reasoning, and persuasion. The effective utilization of linguistic devices plays a crucial role in governing the discourse and its argumentative aspects. Additionally, its secondary objective is to enhance the speaker's ability to exert influence over the listener or recipient, compelling them to acknowledge and accept the deliberate meanings that emerge through the introduction of intentions and thoughts into their discourse. The theory of argument suggests that the comprehensive persuasive structure of speech is achieved through the aesthetic aspects and the influencing and interactive properties of mechanisms or instruments. Berleman was the pioneering advocate of the theory of argument in contemporary rhetoric studies with subsequent collaboration from Titka to establish the framework of this theory. There are multiple definitions of the theory of argument, but one prominent interpretation is that it pertains to the examination of discourse strategies that facilitate the cognitive process of embracing propositions that are presented or enhancing the level of acceptance towards them. Therefore, the objective of an argument is to encourage intellectual openness to acknowledge the viewpoints put forward or to enhance the level of acknowledgment. Both individuals believe that the most effective argument compels the audience to take action at the appropriate moment. Thus, the argument that has the greatest impact on the recipient, both in terms of theoretical understanding and behavioral response, is considered the most effective. Acknowledging the information offered corresponds to the theoretical impact, while engaging in the necessary action corresponds to the behavioral impact.Argumentation is a communicative endeavor that seeks to influence the audience, evoke emotions, and align with the prevailing circumstances by employing rational prowess and utilizing logical and linguistic reasoning. It is a cognitive process that utilizes verbal or written communication to present evidence in a persuasive manner, aiming to lead the audience to adopt a specific viewpoint or belief. Verbal or linguistic debates encompass works that employ argumentative strategies to convince and exert influence over the audience. The debate between Imam Reza and the Exilarch, regarding the prophethood of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), can be classified as an argumentative discourse. Upon analyzing the debate text, it is advisable to divide it into two distinct sections. The initial section encompasses the arguments articulated by Imam Reza as documented in credible sources about the Exilarch. He represented one of the two opposing perspectives in the argument. Through a comprehensive analysis of Imam Reza's debates with scholars from other religious backgrounds, it becomes evident that he effectively persuades his audience on certain occasions by substantiating his beliefs with references to empirical evidence. Indeed, it can be observed that Imam Reza occasionally derives advantageous outcomes from this particular approach in a benevolent manner. However, the second section becomes apparent through the intellectual arguments employed by Imam Reza during his theological discourse with the Jewish scholar. Imam Reza effectively utilized rational reasoning to compel his audience, leaving them with limited alternatives but to embrace his assertions and be persuaded by his objectives. Therefore, based on the aforementioned discourse, it is evident that Imam Reza has employed various modes of argumentation in his debates, including narrative and intellectual arguments. Moreover, he has derived advantages from these arguments on several occasions, showcasing the profound extent of his erudition in the field of rhetoric. The present study aimed to examine the aforementioned discussion by utilizing the theory of argument and its various techniques as a framework for description and analysis. The primary objective of this study was to investigate the argumentative strategies, linguistic features, and rhetorical approaches that were the central focus of this research endeavor. Philosophical arguments, which fell under the category of logical arguments, were identified as a form of discourse that combined narrative and rational elements. This study examined the prominent forms of persuasion in the discourse between Imam Reza and the Jewish scholar with a focus on linguistic and rhetorical strategies, as well as narrative and intellectual arguments. The findings indicated that these techniques served as fundamental elements in enriching their perspectives, persuading the audience, and substantiating their claims regarding the prophetic mission. One notable finding from the study was the usage of conjunctions, specifically waw and Thoma, for linking purposes, as well as inna and anna, in the discourse. These linguistic devices played a significant role in the persuasive aspect of the debate as they established connections between arguments and reinforced their coherence. The debate also employed various rhetorical strategies, including introduction and delay, limitation, questioning, and irony, all of which served their argumentative purposes in this discourse.
Research in Arabic Language and Literature, Volume:15 Issue: 2, 2023
121 to 140  
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