Renaissance

Download Classical Rhetoric & Its Christian & Secular Tradition from by George A. Kennedy PDF

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By George A. Kennedy

This up to date variation strains the culture of classical rhetoric in the course of the a while, from its improvement in historical Greece and Rome, via its continuation and adaption in Europe and the US and during the Middles a while and Renaissance, to its enduring value within the twentieth century.

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The philosophical approach to Gorgias, valuable as it is in relating his work to other intellectual developments of the fifth century, probably exaggerates his sophistication and credits him with an uncharacteristic power of conceptualization. Gorgias imitated what he found in the philosophers as he did what he found in the poets, not so much as contributions to a theory of knowledge as to a technique of speech. Although, like most other sophists of his time, he was probably a relativist about the truth and moral values, it is not clear that he cared very much about philosophical implications.

It is thus not surprising that poetry furnished the stylistic model. Gorgias can be regarded as having sought to create an elevated oratorical style for formal speech, distinct from conversational language, though at the risk of drawing attention away from what he was saying to how he was saying it. In addition, as Jacqueline de Romilly has argued,∞≠ Gorgias saw magic in speech, the same kind of magic that appeared in religious poetry or in the healing incantations of medicine men. In his Encomium of Helen (§ 8) he speaks of the power of speech: ‘‘Speech is a powerful lord that with the smallest and most invisible body accomplishes most godlike works.

In his Encomium of Helen (§ 8) he speaks of the power of speech: ‘‘Speech is a powerful lord that with the smallest and most invisible body accomplishes most godlike works. ’’ The Gorgianic figures probably should be regarded as the devices by which Gorgias sought to work his magic. They are the techniques that stir the passions or obsess the mind and perhaps draw the listener to unconscious agreement with the speaker. The view of Gorgias as a magician seems supported by the general reaction to him in antiquity.

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