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date: 24 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The sophists who formed the Second Sophistic were professors of rhetoric, orators, lecturers, and politicians, and they were highly influential in their day. This coupling of the sophists’ profession and social influence is an interesting phenomenon in the history of rhetoric. Through rhetoric, the sophist’s art achieved the alliance of knowledge and power. The rhetoric of the Second Sophistic constitutes a lively field of research among scholars. The main current issues include gender (the teaching of rhetoric participated in the division of roles between the sexes in society); self-affirmation of Greek identity through rhetoric; the so-called decline of oratory and the development of epideictic (in fact, a redeployment of oratorical forms); political subtexts and veiled messages in rhetorical discourses; and religious rhetoric and the sophists as “holy men.” One might speak of a continuation of the Second Sophistic, or of a Third Sophistic, from the fourth century C.E. and beyond.

Keywords: rhetoric, second sophistic, sophist, third sophistic, decline of oratory, epideictic, gender, identity, Greco-Roman, religion

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