Theory, Text, Context

Issues in Greek Rhetoric and Oratory

Edited by Christopher Lyle Johnstone

Subjects: Speech
Series: SUNY series in Communication Studies
Paperback : 9780791431085, 196 pages, October 1996
Hardcover : 9780791431078, 196 pages, October 1996

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Table of contents


Introduction: The Origins of the Rhetorical in Archaic Greece

Christopher Lyle Johnstone

1. How do We Get from Corax-Tisias to Plato-Aristotle in Greek Rhetorical Theory?

William M. A. Grimaldi, S. J.

2. Extending and Correcting the Rhetorical Tradition: Aristotle's Perception of the Sophists

John Poulakos

3. Toward a Predisciplinary Analysis of Gorgias' Helen

Edward Schiappa

4. Agency, Performance, and Interpretation in Thucydides' Account of the Mytilene Debate

Michael C. Leff

5. Greek Oratorical Settings and the Problem of the Pnyx: Rethinking the Athenian Political Process

Christopher Lyle Johnstone

6. Demosthenes: Superior Artiste and Victorious Monomachist

Donovan J. Ochs

7. Aristotle's Accounts of Persuasion through Character

William W. Fortenbaugh

8. Reworking Aristotle's Rhetoric

George A. Kennedy

About the Contributors


Leading scholars of classical rhetoric address contemporary topics in Greek rhetoric and oratory.


This is a bone-crushing confrontation of contemporary questions about the origins and early development of Greek rhetorical theory and practice. It examines a number of important issues from several new perspectives, and offers a more complex and multi-faceted account of the early history of rhetoric than is to be found anywhere else. It is especially unique in bringing together in one place the work of several distinguished scholars of Greek rhetoric and oratory. It takes a revisionist look at the Sophists and explores Greek sites, settings, and culture in ways that challenge long-standing ideas about discourse in the polis. A passionate book full of satyrs rather than philosophers, it is innovative and bold, a treasure-house of provocative ideas.

Christopher Lyle Johnstone is Associate Professor Speech Communication at The Pennsylvania State University.


"The importance of the collection lies in the complexity and diversity of issues which these scholars bring to the question of the early stages of Greek oratory and education … the work is a satisfying read. Each author is clear, concise, and offers a number of insights and suggestions. " — H-Net Reviews (H-Rhetor)

"With postmodernism, a good deal of slipshod nonsense has been written about the role of the Sophists. Everyone is trying to get a new pedigree for their ideas in Greco-Roman foundations. This book gives a more complex and many-sided view of the Sophists than the post-modernist romantic image.

This book brings together the unresolved issues of our time and engages questions that every rhetorical scholar engages today. It represents the mature thought of senior scholars. It is going to be one of the mighty ones. " — Andrew King, Louisiana State University