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Celebrating with Words: Studies in the Rhetorical Works of the Gaza School
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Linguistics and Philology.
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study investigates the School of Gaza, a circle of rhetoricians in Late Antique Palestine. Special attention is paid to Choricius and Procopius of Gaza, and in particular to their epideictic works. The chapters of the study focus on the individual works, for which are offered a summarising analysis and a close reading with special regard to form, key terms and self-reflexive comments.

The overarching question is how the Gaza rhetoricians, working within established rhetorical forms, adapted their oratory to contemporary concerns and ideology while at the same time remaining true to their classical models. The study discusses some of the strategies employed and shows that the Gaza authors and especially Choricius tend to expand the oratorical forms by assigning contemporary features (such as remarks on Christian education) to separate sections, which are added to the traditional sections. The concepts are thus juxtaposed rather than integrated and the paradigms to some extent kept apart. Another strategy is to select from traditional topoi and exempla those that best suit contemporary mentality and elaborate on these while downplaying others.

The study also investigates Choricius’ views on the sophist’s role in society, both as a distributor of recompense (amoibe) to the philanthropic elite, and as a servant of society, providing the citizens with simultaneous entertainment and edification. In this capacity, the orator complements other professions, such as the physician or mime actor. Choricius’ view on soldiers, on the other hand, is basically negative, and in his encomia to military men, he attempts at redefining their martial task of overcoming an enemy into a task of maintaining peace and handling crises.

Issues of imitation and representation are also addressed. These involve the relationship between actual deeds and their rhetorical representation, similarities between actors and rhetoricians, and the psychological impact of ecphrases on an audience.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. , 225 p.
Keyword [en]
Gaza school, Late Antique rhetoric, Late Antique oratory, epideictic, Choricius of Gaza, Procopius of Gaza, classical tradition, mimesis, panegyric, funeral speeches, wedding speeches, ecphrasis
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-111782OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-111782DiVA: diva2:284211
Public defence
2010-01-30, Geijersalen, Engelska parken, Humanistiskt centrum, Thunbergsvägen 3P, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 2010-01-08 Created: 2009-12-21 Last updated: 2010-01-08

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