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Publisher: Cardiff University
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects:
The term ‘Second Sophistic’ was already coined in Antiquity to denote a movement of literary and cultural renewal in the Greek and Hellenistic world during the first two centuries AD. The expression was not wholly complimentary; for whereas the ‘First Sophistic’ was seen to have been primarily concerned with more ‘serious’ topics like philosophy and politics, the ‘Second Sophistic’ was more interested in culture and ‘the arts’. Up until fairly recently modern scholarship too treated this as a negative feature and considered the monuments of the Second Sophistic to be un-original and decadent. But more recent scholarship has a more positive view of the achievements of the Second Sophistic, and the movement is now becoming more and more appreciated as one of the great cultural renaissances in Antiquity. At the same time the question has been raised whether the movement of renewal in the fourth and fifth centuries, linked in part with the rise of Christian literature and a ‘pagan’ reaction to it (including authors like Libanius, Themistius, Julian, Himerius, John Chrysostom and Synesius), could be termed a ‘Third Sophistic’. This article discusses some recent literature on this topic and argues for a new approach to the question.
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    • 9 C. Martindale, Redeeming the Text. Latin poetry and the hermeneutics of reception, Cambridge, 1993; Id., “Introduction. Thinking through recepetion,” in: C. Martindale and R.F. Thomas (eds.), Classics and the Uses of Reception, Oxford, 2006, 1-13.
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    • 11 Philstr., VS 480-481. Translation by W. C. Wright.
    • 12 Compare Whitmarsh 2005, 6-9.
    • 13 I quote from Gleason 1995, 27. This idea finds support in P. A.Brunt, “The Bubble of the Second Sophistic,” in: Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 39 (1994) 37.
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    • 20 Whitmarsh 2001, 43.
    • 21 A. Lesky, A History of Greek Literature, London (translated by J. Willis and C. de Heer), 1966, 870-888
    • 22 S. Swain, “Sophists and Emperors: the case of Libanius,” in: S. Swain and M. Edwards (eds.), Approaching Late Antiquity. The transformation from early to Late Empire, Oxford, 2003, 362-363.
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    • 28 F. M. Young, Biblical Exegesis and the Formation of Christian Culture, Cambridge, 1997; G.Yamasaki, Watching a Biblical Narrative. Point of view in Biblical Exegesis, London, 2008 (forthcoming).
    • 29 T. D. Barnes, “Scholarship or Propaganda? Porphyry Against the Christians and its historical setting,” in: Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 39 (1994) 53-65.
    • 30 Spence 2007, 94-96; C. J. Swearingen, Rhetoric and Irony. Western Literacy and Western lies, New York-Oxford, 1991, 178-179.
    • 31 Cribiore 2007, 6 and 206-212; G. Wöhrle, “Líbanios' Religion,” in: PCULGC 7 (1995) 76.
    • 32 Lib., Or. LXII, 12. Transalation from A. F. Norman, Antioch as a Centre of Hellenic Culture as Observed by Libanius, Liverpool, 2000, 92.
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    • 34 Pernot 1993, 773.
    • 35 P. Auski, Christian Plain Style. The evolution of a spiritual idea, Montreal, 1995, 145; R. R. Ruether, Gregory of Nazianzus. Rhetor and Philosopher, Oxford, 1969, 174; I. Sandwell, Religous identity in Late Antiquity. Greeks, Jews and Christians in Antioch, Cambridge, 2007, 55-56.
    • 36 Auski 1995, 153.
    • 37 G. Anderson, Sage, Saint and Sophist. Holy men and their associates in the Early Roman Empire, London, 1994, 73-74.
    • 38 Augustine, De Doctrina Christiana, IV, 32. Translation by Ph. Schaff in www.ccel.org. Shuger 1988, 42-50; Swearingen 1991, 176-177.
    • 39 John Chrysostom, Homily on the Statues III (PG 49, 49). Translation by Ph. Schaff in www.ccel.org.
    • 40 J. Bregman, Synesius of Cyrene. Philosopher-bishop, Berkeley, 1982, 141.
    • 41 J. Maxwell, ,Christianization and Communication in Late Antiquity. John Chrysostom and his congregation in Antioch, Cambridge, 2006, 94-106.
    • 42 Augustine, De Doctrina Christiana, IV, 19. Translation by Ph. Schaff in www.ccel.org.
    • 50 B. Schouler, La tradition hellenique chez Libanios, Lille, 1977, 941.
    • 51 Swain 1997, 35.
    • 52 C. Rapp, “Comparison, paradigm and the case of Moses in Panegyric and Hagiography,” in: M. Whitby (ed.), The Propaganda of Power. The role of Panegyric in Late Antiquity, Leiden, 1998, 277-298.
    • 53 Spence 2007, 10.
    • 54 G. A. Kennedy, Greek Rhetoric under Christian Emperors, Princeton, 1983, 134-135.
    • 55 S. Corcoran, The Empire of the Tetrarchs. Imperial pronouncements and goverment AD 284-324, Oxford, 2000 (revised edition), 234-254; S. Williams, Diocletian and the Roman recovery, London, 1985, 132-134.
    • 56 Bowie 2004, 65; C. P. JONES, “Multiple identities in the age of the Second Sophistic,” in: B.E. Borg (ed.), Paideia: the world of the Second Sophistic, Berlin-New York, 2004, 13.
    • 57 Sandwell 2007, 149.
    • 58 E. J. Watts, City and School in Late Antique Athens and Alexandria, London, 2006, 17.
    • 59 M. Mitchell, The Heavenly Trumpet. John Chrysostom and the art of pauline interpretation, London, 2000, XVIII.
    • 60 Swearingen 1991, 176-177.
    • 61 Pernot 2000, 271.
    • 65 Whitmarsh 2005, 5. Similar convictions about scholars overrating the Second Sophistic can be found in P. A.Brunt, “The bubble of the Second Sophistic,” Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 39 (1994) 25-52.
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