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Meghan Conley English 201 G2 Essay 4 MLK 2 April 2001 From the Apostle Paul to Martin Buber Martin Luther Kings use of Historical and Religious Figures in his Letter From Birmingham Jail In his Letter From Birmingham Jail Dr Martin Luther King Jr is addressing his fellow clergymen in response to their accusations of his unwise and untimely activities Like most other reformers he finds his greatest rationalization and defense from the word of God Considering the religious affiliation of his audience King appeals to the clergymen by instituting examples from and associates himself with historical and religious figures Creatively King is establishing a common ground between himself and the men of the cloth which causes them to respect his actions and ideas more Within the first three paragraphs King already associates himself with biblical history Just as the prophets of the eighth century BC 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 78 King brings up two different subjects here the prophets and the Apostle Paul However both their intentions are the same to spread the word of God These two subjects become in literary terms Christ figures and by relating his own course of action to theirs King himself becomes one too This is meant not only to defend his position but also to appeal to the minds of his audience in a much more deeply pious way King automatically gains the respect and attention needed from his audience Thus their understanding and acceptance of Kings views and ideas will follow They will begin to see past the color of his skin and think of him as akin to
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