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date: 18 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presumes that the history of Greek rhetoric is coterminous with the development of a specialized vocabulary deployed to describe and organize activities we recognize now as rhetorical theory, pedagogy, and practice. The origins of Greek rhetorical theory and pedagogy can be traced back to the sophists of the fifth century B.C.E., though the word “rhetoric” (rhētorikē)—along with other “disciplining” words such as dialectic, eristic, and antilogic—cannot be found prior to Plato. Rhetoric becomes disciplined in the fourth-century writings of Aristotle, though a philosophical oratory (or an oratorical philosophy) is described by Isocrates. In the postclassical era, rhetorical theory and pedagogy become increasingly specialized, with Aristotle’s taxonomical approach to theorizing typically combined with an Isocratean approach to practical pedagogy. Other notable developments include the detailed study of style, the emergence of stasis theory, and the advancement of a graduated sequence of rhetorical exercises known as progymnasmata.

Keywords: Rhetoric, oratory, pedagogy, sophists, Plato, Aristotle, Isocrates, style, progymnasmata, stasis theory

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