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

By Stanley E. Porter | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 26
CYNICS AND RHETORIC

Ronald F. Hock

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA


I. INTRODUCTION

For roughly a thousand years—from the fourth century BC to die sixth century AD—a familiar figure, if not always a welcome one, in cities throughout the eastern Mediterranean was the Cynic philoso pher.1 The most familiar of all the Cynics, of course, was Diogenes of

1 The only comprehensive treatment of Cynicism remains that of D. R. Dudley,
A History of Cynicism from Diogenes to the 6th Century AD (London: Methuen, 1937). For
shorter surveys, see: E. Zeller, The Philosophie der Griechen in Hirer geschichtlichen Entwuklung
(3 double vols.; 5th edn.; Leipzig: Reisland, 1922), II, 1, pp. 280–336 and III, 1, pp.
793–804; R. Helm, “Kynismus”, RE 12 (1924), cols. 3–24; M. Billerbeck, “La
reception du Cynisme a Rome”, Acta Classica 51 (1982), pp. 151–73; M.-O. Goulet
Caze, “Le cynisme a l'epoque imperiale”, AJVRW 11.36:4 (1990), pp. 2720–2833;
and R. F. Hock, “Cynics”, ABD 1 (1992), pp. 1221–26. A number of important
articles on Cynicism are now readily available in M. Billerbeck (ed.), The Kyniker in
der modemen Forschung: Aufsatze mit Einfrihrung und Bibliographic
(Amsterdam: Gruner,
1991), whose “Einfiihrung” (pp. 1–28) is an excellent survey of recent scholarship
on Cynicism. See also the articles gathered in M.-O. Goulet-Cazé and R. Goulet
(eds.), Le cynisme ancien et ses prolongements (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France,
1993). The basic ancient source for Cynicism, although far from the only one, is
Diogenes Laertius's Lives of Eminent Philosophers, book 6, on which see M.-O. Goulet
Caze, “Le livre VI de Diogene Laerce: Analyse de sa structure et reflexions
methodologiques”, ANRW 11.36:6 (1992), pp. 3880–4048. Relatively little literature
of the early Cynics remains (see the snippets in DL 6:70–71, 85–86, 103–105), but
evidence by and about later Cynics is quite extensive, scattered throughout ancient
literature—in Epictetus, Plutarch, Dio Chrysostom, Maximus of Tyre, Lucian,
Athenaeus, the Greek Anthology, and Julian, to name just a few. For collections of
materials, see F. W. A. Mullach (ed.), Fragmenta philosophorum graecorum (3 vols.; Paris:
Didot, 1860–81), II, pp. 259–395; L. Paquet (ed.), Les Cyniques grecs: Fragments et
temoignages
(Ottawa: Editions de l'Universite d'Ottawa, 1975); and A.J. Malherbe
(ed.), The Cynic Epistles: A Study Edition (Adanta: Scholars Press, 1977). Finally, it
should be noted that New Testament scholars have made significant contributions
to the study of Cynicism, quite apart from its relation to earliest Christianity. Most
notable of these scholars is A.J. Malherbe, many of whose studies of Cynicism—
e.g., “Self-Definition among the Cynics”, “Mή λέvoιτo in the Diatribe and Paul”,
“Gende as a Nurse: The Cynic Background to 1 Thessalonians 2”, and “Antisthenes
and Odysseus, and Paul at War”—are collected in Paul and the Popular Philosophers
(Minneapolis: Fortress, 1989). See also B. L. Mack, A Myth of Innocence: Mark and
Christian Origins
(Philadelphia: Fortress, 1988); F. G. Downing, Cynics and Christian
Origins
(Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1992); and L. Vaage, Galilean Upstarts: Jesus' First
Followers according to Q_
(Valley Forge, PA: Trinity Press International, 1994).

-755-

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