2004
Volume 55 Number 3
  • ISSN: 0165-8204
  • E-ISSN: 2667-1573

Abstract

Abstract

This article discusses the ideal of a philosophical rhetoric as propagated by the fourth-century philosopher and orator Themistius. His ideal, like that of his Neoplatonist contemporaries, is shaped by an intensive engagement with Plato’s dialogues dealing with this subject. Themistius imputes to his contemporaries the same vices that Socrates held against the sophists. He also claims that good rhetoric is always based on the truth, building upon statements found in Plato’s . Themistius is thoroughly convinced that it is a philosopher’s task to use rhetoric to benefit society and make people’s souls better. In his view, the usefulness of his words is raised by the pleasure they bring and guaranteed by his own practice of living honourably. Themistius thus ascribes a more important and philosophically relevant role to rhetoric than most Neoplatonists ever did.

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