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

By Stanley E. Porter | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 21
THE GREEK CHRISTIAN WRITERS

Wolfram Kinzig

University of Bonn, Germany

To give, in one short chapter, a survey of the relationship between the Greek Christian writers and ancient rhetoric resembles Phileas Fogg's voyage around the world in eighty days. The literature which is dealt with in these pages comprises more man sixty tomes in Migne's Patrologia Graeca or more man five thousand works according to Maurits Geerard's Clams Patrum Graecorum. The topic under discussion can, therefore, only be outlined in the broadest possible terms.1 In addi tion, given the limitations of space, instead of giving a chronological

1 There are only two scholars this century who have attempted to give general
surveys of the area in question. The starting-point for all modern research remains
Eduard Norden's classical study on Antike Kunstprosa, first published in 1898 (Norden
1915 “1958”). More recently, George Kennedy has written a History of Rhetoric that
also includes Christian writers (cf. Kennedy 1972: esp. 607–13; 1983: esp. 180–264;
cf. also 1980:132–60; 1989; 1994:257–70). In addition, Christoph Klock in his doc
toral dissertation covers much of the ground dealt with in this chapter (Klock 1987;
cf. 1981). A useful collection of sources is Sider 1983. I have seen neither Memoli
1979 nor La narrativa cristiana antica 1995. The relationship between rhetoric and
Christianity as a whole is also the subject of numerous studies by Antonio Quacquarelli
(cf. e.g. Quacquarelli 1960; 1971; 1982; 1988; 1992). There are also short surveys
of our subject, the best ones by Wifstrand (1967:28–48) and by Sevcenko (1980). Cf.
in addition Burgess 1902:240–44; Puech 1928–30: II, pp. 1–5, 110–21, 227–34,
315–25; III, pp. 34–41 and passim; Christ-Schmid-Stahlin 1924 (1961):943–56 and
passim; Clarke 1953:148–57; Musurillo 1957; Jaeger 1962: esp. 68–85; Hunger
1965:334–45; Beck 1969; Hunger 1972; Eisenhut 1974:73–81; Maguire 1981:9–21;
Hunger 1981; Wilson 1983:8–12; Simonetti 1985; Raster 1988:70–95; Auxentios
1989; Treu 1992; Anderson 1993:205–13; Auksi 1995: esp. 144–73. Cf. also Hunger
1978: I, pp. 63–196 for the later period. A historical grammar that also includes a
discussion of Christian language and rhetoric is Triantaphyllide 1938.

These authors notwithstanding, there are only monographs and articles on indi
vidual aspects of Christian rhetoric. The literature dealing with the various literary
genres is found in the relevant chapters of this Handbook. A useful bibliography is
also included in Berger 1984. In addition, many problems relating to the topic under
discussion are dealt with in the relevant entries of the Historisches Wörterbuch der Rhetorik
(ed. G. Ueding; Tübingen 1992ff., 2 vols, so far). The article “Christliche Rhetorik,
B. I. Antike” by G. Otto is, however, unsatisfactory (Otto 1992). As regards early
Byzantine oratory Hunger's survey is well informed (Hunger 1994).

-633-

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