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Isocrates: The Great Teacher Advanced Rhetorical Writing Matt Barton.

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1 Isocrates: The Great Teacher Advanced Rhetorical Writing Matt Barton

2 The Great Teacher: Isocrates Isocrates opens first school of rhetoric in in Athens, 393 BCE Developed periodic sentence Emphasized praxis –Education improves natural talents and should serve the state –Talent, Experience, Training crucial for rhetorical and philosophical success –Education should form good citizens, not navel- gazers

3 Periodic Sentences Loose vs. Periodic Sentences: –Loose Style: Strung together like beads (straight) –Periodic Style: Turned or Guided by an End (circular) “Bill went to the store and bought some milk and decided to get some cheese; he came home and saw that the cat had gotten out; he looked for it and couldn't find it; his TV suddenly went blank." “After his trip to the store, where he bought milk and (on a sudden whim) cheese, Bill's arrival at home was marred, first by his cat, who had gotten away and couldn't be found, then by his TV, which suddenly went blank.”

4 Isocrates’ views on rhetoric Requirements for Rhetorical Success: –Natural Ability –Practice Making Speeches –General Principles Kairos is all important. –An orator striving for fame will emulate moral behavior; thus virtue will become a habit. (ethos)

5 Against the Sophists “Oratory is good only if it has the qualities of fitness for the occasion, propriety of style, and originality of treatment.” –Formal training in rhetoric can help “talented” orators further refine their skills “Untalented” orators “get by.” –Rhetoric can’t make you wise or good by itself, but it can help you help yourself. Evil deeds don’t go unpunished forever.

6 Oratory and Civilization “Because we have the power to persuade each other and to make clear to each other whatever we desire, not only have we escaped the life of wild beasts, but we have come together and founded cities and made laws and invented arts; –There is no institution devised by man which the power of speech has not helped us to establish.”

7 Oratory and Understanding “The power to speak well is taken as the surest index of a sound understanding, and discourse which is true and lawful and just is the outward image of a good and faithful soul.” –The same arguments we use to persuade others (the eloquent), we also use to deliberate in our own thoughts (the sage).

8 Oratory and Morality Orators will constantly appraise “illustrious and edifying examples” which will “influence him not only in the preparation of discourse but all the actions in his life.” –“The man who wishes to persuade people will apply himself above all to establish a most honorable name among his fellow-citizens.”

9 Other thoughts from Antidosis Some academic subjects seem unrelated to “real life,” but learning these subjects is still useful. –They teach us how to “apply our minds to difficult problems” and think with subtlety and exactness; we learn how to focus. –“Philosophy” is useful if it helps us make intelligent decisions when we’re in uncertain situations.

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