Beyond the Second Sophistic: Adventures in Greek by Tim Whitmarsh PDF

By Tim Whitmarsh

The "Second Sophistic" characteristically refers to a interval on the top of the Roman Empire's strength that witnessed a flourishing of Greek rhetoric and oratory, and because the nineteenth century it has frequently been considered as a security of Hellenic civilization opposed to the domination of Rome. This ebook proposes a truly varied version. protecting well known fiction, poetry and Greco-Jewish fabric, it argues for a wealthy, dynamic, and various tradition, which can't be decreased to an easy version of continuity. Shining new mild on a chain of playful, innovative texts which are omitted of the normal money owed of Greek literature, Whitmarsh types a extra adventurous, exploratory method of later Greek tradition. past the second one Sophistic bargains not just a brand new manner of taking a look at Greek literature from three hundred BCE onwards, but in addition a problem to the Eurocentric, aristocratic structures put on the Greek history. obtainable and vigorous, it is going to entice scholars and students of Greek literature and tradition, Hellenistic Judaism, international literature, and cultural thought.

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If we adjust the parameters, if we rewrite some of the received “certainties,” if we explore alternative literary genealogies, what kind of picture do we come up with? 1 In this chapter I consider how this particular galaxy might be located within the complex firmament of Greek fiction. There is, I believe, an answer to this question. But the crucial point (in view of the themes of this book) is a larger one, which should be borne in mind throughout: among Greek fictional texts the coherence of the romances as a body of texts is an exception rather than the norm.

32 Further challenge to the veridical authority of epic came from the development of forensic oratory, beginning in fifth-century Athens. 33 Rhetoric opened up a new language for assessing narrative: Do we believe Homer’s version of affairs? Is he a credible witness? Questions of narrative plausibility thus become central to literary criticism (they are famously prominent in Aristotle’s discussion of tragic plotting in the Poetics). These debates persisted into the Hellenistic period. 16, 20, 55, 59, 67, 69, 70, 92, 130, 137, 139).

68. Barns 1956. 69. I. Rutherford 2000. On the issue as a whole see I. Rutherford, forthcoming; Stephens, forthcoming. 70. Nimis 2004. 71. Hdt. 102–11; Maneth. fr. 34 Robbins; Diod. Sic. 53. 72. Stephens and Winkler 1995, 252–66. 30 Fiction beyond the Canon What we are to conclude from these similarities is less clear: is Sesonchosis an influential Hellenistic text (or, at any rate, part of an influential but now lost Hellenistic tradition)? Or does it represent a specifically local-Egyptian, populist variant on the imperial romance?

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