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Porphyry's rhetoric\ud

By M. Heath


This paper provides an introductory survey of the evidence for Porphyry’s writings on rhetoric and a discussion of their context and influence, together with a detailed commentary on the testimonia and fragments. \ud \ud In paying tribute to Porphyry as polymath, Eunapius expresses uncertainty whether his most significant contribution was to rhetoric, literary studies, arithmetic, geometry, music or the various branches of philosophy (Lives of the Sophists 4.2.2-3 = 9.11-19 Giangrande). The aporia is a rhetorical figure (it is no coincidence that philosophy holds the final, climactic place), but we should not discount the initial claim that Porphyry was a major contributor to rhetoric, although that is not a perspective on Porphyry that will occur readily to modern scholars. Smith’s survey of recent work registers no interest at all in Porphyry as a rhetorician, and his Teubner edition of the fragments omits the majority of the rhetorical fragments, and all of the most substantial ones. The present paper aims to provide an introduction to this aspect of Porphyry’s work (§1-§4), together with a catalogue of the available evidence and a commentary on it (§5). This will, I hope, assist towards a better understanding of the history of rhetoric in the third century, and its place in the intellectual culture of the time

Year: 2003
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.whiterose.ac.uk:526

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