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The Genuine Teachers of This Art

Rhetorical Education in Antiquity

Jeffrey Walker

Publication Year: 2012

Genuine Teachers of This Art examines the technê, or "handbook," tradition—which it controversially suggests began with Isocrates—as the central tradition in ancient rhetoric and a potential model for contemporary rhetoric. From this innovative perspective, Jeffrey Walker offers reconsiderations of rhetorical theories and schoolroom practices from early to late antiquity as the true aim of the philosophical rhetoric of Isocrates and as the distinctive expression of what Cicero called "the genuine teachers of this art." Through a study of the classical rhetorical paideia, or training system, Walker makes a case for considering rhetoric not as an Aristotelian critical-theoretical discipline, but as an Isocratean pedagogical discipline in which the art of rhetoric is neither an art of producing critical theory nor even an art of producing speeches and texts, but an art of producing speakers and writers. Walker grounds his study in pedagogical theses mined from revealing against-the-grain readings of Cicero, Isocrates, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus. Walker also locates supporting examples from a host of other sources, including Aelius Theon, Aphthonius, the Rhetoric to Alexander, the Rhetoric to Herennius, Quintilian, Hermogenes, Hermagoras, Lucian, Libanius, Apsines, the Anonymous Seguerianus, and fragments of ancient student writing preserved in papyri. Walker's epilogue considers the relevance of the ancient technê tradition for the modern discipline of rhetoric, arguing that rhetoric is defined foremost by its pedagogical enterprise, the project of producing rhetors capable of intelligent, effective, and useful civic engagement through speech and writing. This groundbreaking vision of the technê tradition significantly revises the standard picture of the ancient history of rhetoric with ramifications for the contemporary disciplinary identity of rhetoric itself.

Published by: University of South Carolina Press

Series: Studies in Rhetoric/Communication


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pp. 1-3

Title Page

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p. 4-4

Copyright Page

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p. 5-5

Dedication Page

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pp. 6-7

Table of Contents

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pp. 8-9

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Series Editor's Preface

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pp. ix-11

In Greek and Roman antiquity, intensive and prolonged study of rhetoric was the key preparation for active civic life. In The Genuine Teachers of This Art,Jeffrey Walker explores, in four extended essays, the practice of rhetorical education from Isocrates to late antiquity, with intensive treatments of Isocrates, Cicero, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, and the practice of declamation....

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pp. xi-13

I thank the National Endowment for the Humanities and the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin for the fellowships that enabled me to get this book seriously underway during the 2007–2008 academic year. I also thank Jim Denton at the University of South Carolina Press for being extraordinarily patient while I slowly brought the manuscript to completion. ...

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Prologue: Rhetoric and/as Rhetorical Pedagogy

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pp. 1-8

One can, of course, define rhetoric in different ways. “Rhetoric” may mean (1) persuasive discourse, as opposed to nonpersuasive, which is a standard popular conception, or practical oratory, discourse delivered in deliberative, judicial, and ceremonial forums, which is a traditional (if outmoded) scholarly conception. One can say, for example, that an issue “generated a lot of rhetoric.” ...

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One: Cicero's Antonius

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pp. 9-56

Roughly midway into the second book of Cicero’s great and complex dialogue, De oratore, as the orator Marcus Antonius begins his discussion of the role of “commonplaces” (loci ) in rhetorical invention, Quintus Lutatius Catulus—an enthusiast of Greek high culture—remarks with approval that Antonius seems to be following the theories of Aristotle’s Topics and is less indifferent to Greek ...

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Two: On the Technê of Isocrates (I)

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pp. 57-90

This chapter’s epigraphs represent a longstanding tradition, or pair of traditions, in rhetorical scholarship. The first, represented here by Cicero and Quintilian, divides the rhetorical tradition into two main streams: a sophistic stream of rhetorical teaching that flows from Isocrates through “all” subsequent rhetoricians, or those whom Antonius calls “the genuine teachers of this art,” and a ...

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Three: On the Technê of Isocrates (II)

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pp. 91-155

This chapter is admittedly speculative, or, if you will, an exercise in probabilistic conjecture. I propose to consider what the Technê of Isocrates may have contained. The main sources of evidence are, on one hand, scattered testimonies by other writers and, on the other, the fragments and traces of preceptive technê that appear in Isocrates’ extant writings. ...

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Four: In the Garden of Talking Birds: Declamation and Civic Theater

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pp. 156-212

Rhetoric was discovered and came forward as a safeguard of justice and a bond of human life, so that matters would not be decided by hands, by weapons, by seizure, by numbers and size, or by any other inequality, but that reason should determine justice peacefully. This is the very origin and nature of rhetoric: its purpose is to save all human beings, and by means of ...

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Five: Dionysius of Halicarnassus and the Notion of Rhetorical Scholarship

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pp. 213-284

Dionysius of Halicarnassus is often described as one of the leading “literary” critics of antiquity, although he was in fact a rhetorician. More precisely, he was a Greek sophist from Asia Minor. (Ancient Halicarnassus is modern Bodrum, on the western coast of Turkey.) Dionysius lived and worked at Rome between 30 and 7 B.C.E., and probably longer, a period corresponding closely to the reign ...

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pp. 285-295

As I said in the prologue, this book is a sequence of extended, overlapping essays that do not necessarily have to be read in the order presented (with the exception of chapters 2–3). As such they do not quite constitute what Kenneth Burke would call a syllogistic progression,1 though there are reiterated themes and a general stance that has, I hope, held things together. In this epilogue, then, my ...


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pp. 297-328

Works Cited

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pp. 329-344


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pp. 345-356

E-ISBN-13: 9781611171822
Print-ISBN-13: 9781611170160

Page Count: 368
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Studies in Rhetoric/Communication