Handbook of Classical Rhetoric in the Hellenistic Period : 330 B.C.-A.D. 400

By Stanley E. Porter | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

Stanley E. Porter

This volume, Handbook of Classical Rhetoric in the Hellenistic Period (330 BC-AD 400), does not require much introduction. Rhetoric is a very important topic in the study of the writings of the Greek and Roman worlds, and a volume in English to introduce the major features of rhetoric and its practitioners should find ready reception. More than that, the study of rhetoric has become a very active topic in a number of scholarly fields.

This volume provides a comprehensive and wide-ranging introduction to classical rhetoric as it was practised in the Hellenistic period (330 BC-AD 400). In three sections, this detailed reference volume provides a thorough description and analysis of the standard categories of thought, terminology, and theoretical and historical developments of classical rhetoric, as well as providing useful bibliographies. The three sections of essays include, first, definitions of the major categories of rhetoric. Included here are significant essays on the genres of rhetoric, and the categories of arrangement, invention, style, delivery and memory. These are prefaced by a historical survey of ancient rhetoric that provides an overview of the rhetorical literature being discussed throughout the volume. Whereas these topics have all been discussed before, the treatments have the individual stamps of their contributors, and should help in exposing readers to the various ways in which such standard categories of rhetoric can be approached and utilized. The second section analyses rhetorical practice according to genre of writing. Some of the genres here have already been subjected to a good amount of rhetorical analysis, such as oratory and declamation. Others of the genres, however, have had very little rhetorical analysis. The contributors in these areas have taken the opportunity to explore previously uncharted territory. There is some very significant work here that will foster much further scholarly analysis, even of those topics that have been treated previously. The third section treats individual writers from a rhetorical perspective. The focus in this section is upon writers of the Hellenistic period, including those of the New Testament and Christian tradition,

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