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Grant number like: FA-53006-07

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Jeffrey Walker
University of Texas, Austin (Austin, TX 78712-0100)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2007 – 8/31/2008

The Genuine Teachers of This Art: Rhetorical Education in Antiquity

This study examines the often-overlooked techne (“handbook”) tradition in ancient rhetorical education as an expression of the “philosophical” rhetoric of the 4th century BCE educator Isocrates. Starting from the theoretical arguments of Cicero’s De Oratore, and proceeding to Isocrates, the later techne tradition, and the rhetorical criticism of Dionysius of Halicarnassus, this study explores the idea that, historically, what has given rhetoric its distinct identity is its teaching tradition. Rhetoric, in this view, is an “art” not so much of making speeches (or texts), nor even of analysis or theory (though it includes that), but of producing persons capable of intelligent, effective, and useful speech and thought in civic contexts.