CLA 220 Classical rhetoric
This course focuses on the origin and development of rhetoric and rhetorical theory during the classical period. The course begins in the pre disciplinary stage of Homer and the Sophists and examines such works as Homer’s Iliad, Gorgias’ Encomium of Helen, and Isocrates’ Antidosis. The course then moves to Plato’s Gorgias and Phaedrus and the “disciplinizing” efforts of Aristotle (On Rhetoric). Finally, the course examines the efforts of Cicero (On Invention, Orator, and On the Orator), Quintilian (Institutes of Oratory), and Augustine (On Christian Doctrine) to reunite philosophy and rhetoric and include ethics within the realm of rhetoric. Students learn how rhetorical theories are generated out of the specific needs of particular political and social contexts. In addition, students examine the influence of literacy on human interaction and the study of rhetoric in particular. Finally, students trace the relationship between rhetoric and philosophy from pre-Platonic unity, through Plato’s bifurcation, and finally to the attempts at reunification by Aristotle, Cicero, and Quintilian. This course is offered in the fall semester.