Moralising is a venerable last resort strategy. The ancient Melians presented the Athenian generals with a splendid example when in a particularly tight corner. In our Western philosophical tradition moral rhetoric is often couched in the form of reasons for action either external to preference and desire (eg. Kant) or internal to the agent''s calculus of desire (e.g., Hume, Gauthier). A third tradition dismisses such rhetoric as the last recourse of the weak (e.g., Aristotle, Nietzsche) whereas a fourth calls (...) for an examination of the social context (e.g., Socrates, Marx, Wittgenstein, Habermas). This paper reports on an experiment which throws some empirical light on these debates and offers a surprising twist to the interpretation of the Melians'' plea. (shrink)
As we so often trip about and lose our breath over speaking precisely to "what is rhetoric?," it should come to no surprise that being asked what we want of rhetoric, of language, of an other moves us to fidget, even brings us to blush. But if we pause with these questions, lips parted without yet the words to answer, we may notice a peculiar craving that churns before the naming. We want of rhetoric—but what? We are compelled toward rhetoric—whereto? (...) We seek in rhetoric—for? If this desire, what Hannah Arendt calls an appetite for love for its own sake, refers to the will to "have and to hold," our love in/for/through rhetoric always seems to slip from capture. So much so that after a whirl of... (shrink)
Since we are dealing with acts of the imagination and of language which break with the cultural patterns of their particular period, we should think of rhetorics here in terms that are more generic and fate-laden than those associated with humanistic categories.
This book poses an eloquent challenge to the common conception of the hermeneutical tradition as a purely modern German specialty. Kathy Eden traces a continuous tradition of interpretation from Republican Rome to Reformation Europe, arguing that the historical grounding of modern hermeneutics is in the ancient tradition of rhetoric.
Biblical scholars have given diverse explanations for the Lamb of God metaphor in John 1:29 and 1:36. Most scholars are of the opinion that ‘amnos’ refers to the Passover lamb. This explanation is not obvious from the context of the Fourth Gospel. To understand the metaphor ‘lamb’ or ‘amnos’ of God, one should understand the transferable meaning of the figure or image. In this comparison, only the vehicle, namely the lamb, is given. What and who the lamb is stays open. (...) It can be anything within the limits of the other story elements that have the same qualities as a lamb. To uncover the communicative dynamics of the metaphor, the exegete must have insight into the meaning and function of the original metaphor. Rhetoric provides a clue for the interpretation of the metaphor, namely that it is a Lamb of God. Within the pericope other rhetorical clues like antithesis and varietas are also provided. These clues are important but do not explain the image of the lamb. In this study, these problems will be considered via another medium, namely Hellenistic art and imagesand their penetration into Judaism and Christianity during the 1st century CE. Hellenistic and biblical images will be used to give an alternative interpretation of the metaphor of the Lamb of God. (shrink)
Rhetoric thoroughly infused the world and literature of Graeco-Roman antiquity. This Companion provides a comprehensive overview of rhetorical theory and practice in that world, from Homer to early Christianity, accessible to students and non-specialists, whether within classics or from other periods and disciplines. Its basic premise is that rhetoric is less a discrete object to be grasped and mastered than a hotly contested set of practices that include disputes over the very definition of rhetoric itself. Standard treatments of ancient (...) oratory tend to take it too much in its own terms and to isolate it unduly from other social and cultural concerns. This volume provides an overview of the shape and scope of the problems while also identifying core themes and propositions: for example, persuasion, virtue, and public life are virtual constants. But they mix and mingle differently, and the contents designated by each of these terms can also shift. (shrink)
The term “boring” is pervasive in contemporary popular evaluations of speakers and speeches. Although familiar today, the term is curiously absent from foundational Greek accounts of the art of rhetoric, raising a question about what, if anything, ancient Greeks thought about the subject. In this article, I aim to clarify Greek ways of thinking about boredom and rhetoric through an examination of the texts of Isocrates, focusing in particular on his Panathenaicus. As the evidence in Isocrates suggests, ancient (...) Greek listeners did experience something akin to boredom, namely ochlos, or annoyance. The Greeks were also delighted by certain forms of rhetoric; some forms were delightful to crowds, and others, like the texts of Isocrates, were delightful to cultivated minds. Although Isocrates addresses antecedents of boredom, he makes only a handful of references of this sort, suggesting that boredom has afflicted some rhetorical cultures far less than others. (shrink)
This dissertation argues that the disjunction between philosophical ontology and the commonsense universe in early Greek thinkers results in a concomitant incommensurability of language and the kosmos. When language and the world no longer stand in a relationship of one-to-one correspondence, the two related problems of unwritability and ineffability arise. ;I trace the linguistic consequences of the separation of the sensible and noetic worlds historically, from early Eleatic thinkers through Plato and neoplatonism . I argue that the tendency of modern (...) scholarship to construct philosophy, rhetoric, and poetry as distinct disciplines is not only historically inaccurate when applied to classical thinkers, but also obscures the unified and interdisciplinary character of the Greek inquiry into the nature of language and the world and the relationship between logos and kosmos. I conclude by examining the doxographical tradition to show that the model of Greek thought that I advocate is the one we find in ancient histories of philosophy and rhetoric. ;Although this dissertation concentrates on the relationship between philosophy and rhetoric in antiquity, it does have consequences for contemporary approaches to both disciplines. If philosophy and rhetoric have their origins in a unified science of logos rather than a war between sophists and philosophers, we no longer can justify our Balkanization of the two disciplines on historical grounds. Poetry, philosophy, and rhetoric all are concerned with language and its relationship with the world, and just as it is not particularly advantageous to divide the world into warring nations, so it is equally unproductive to divide the understanding of logos into warring disciplines. (shrink)