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Many scholars have recognized that Quintilian in the Institutio Oratoria employs the same techniques that he teaches. Few, however, have pursued the implications of this fact for our interpretation of the work: what can we learn from a text that is both didactic and persuasive? This paper argues that in Inst. 12.8 Quintilian addresses this problem, calls attention to its relevance to his treatise, and invites his readers to resist the persuasive dimension of his presentation. A fresh, resistant, examination of the concept of the vir bonus dicendi peritus illustrates how the traditional way of reading the Institutio Oratoria underestimates its sophistication.