Beyond the Second Sophistic: Adventures in Greek by Tim Whitmarsh

By Tim Whitmarsh

The "Second Sophistic" routinely refers to a interval on the top of the Roman Empire's energy that witnessed a flourishing of Greek rhetoric and oratory, and because the nineteenth century it has frequently been considered as a safety of Hellenic civilization opposed to the domination of Rome. This e-book proposes a truly diverse version. masking renowned fiction, poetry and Greco-Jewish fabric, it argues for a wealthy, dynamic, and numerous tradition, which can't be lowered to an easy version of continuity. Shining new gentle on a sequence of playful, inventive texts which are omitted of the normal money owed of Greek literature, Whitmarsh types a extra adventurous, exploratory method of later Greek tradition. past the second one Sophistic deals not just a brand new approach of taking a look at Greek literature from three hundred BCE onwards, but additionally a problem to the Eurocentric, aristocratic structures put on the Greek history. available and vigorous, it is going to attract scholars and students of Greek literature and tradition, Hellenistic Judaism, international literature, and cultural concept.

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64 The convergences between Greek and Jewish are closest in the extraordinary Joseph and Aseneth (perhaps Hellenistic), which elaborates on the biblical story of Joseph’s marriage to a young Egyptian maiden (Genesis 41:45; see also 26:20). e. 65—but the safest guess seems to be that it is a Hellenistic Jewish text overlain with Christian material. Whatever the truth of the matter, the history of this text is clearly interwoven with the rise of the erotic novel. This narrative plays repeatedly on the substitution of erotic with righteous motifs.

The first point to make is that local myths are both endowed with an intrinsic cultural authority and conceded (at least by the elite sophisticates who tend to record them) a licence to confabulate, free from the rationalist strictures of more urbane narrative. Local history is expected to be bizarre, exotic: it tolerates stories of immortal intervention, of metamorphosis, of improper passion. ) is dressed in the garb of a local myth, as told to the narrator by the exegete of a Lesbian cult of the Nymphs.

Stephens and Winkler 1995, 23–71. 42. Billault 2004. 43. These traditions are discussed in Whitmarsh, forthcoming a. 44. Holzberg 1993, 81–82. , De eloc. 213). Chariton and Achilles Tatius (perhaps via Chariton) seem to have picked up the phrasing in their letters of aggrieved lovers (Char. 10; Ach. Tat. 3–4). Works like these raise difficult questions. They are not plasmatic: they deal with figures and events that already existed within the broad span of traditional records of the past. Moreover, while Lucian may cite Ctesias as a liar, and Polybius may reprove Phylarchus for mixing lies and truth, there is nothing to suggest that such texts were “fictional” at the level of contract between reader and narrator.

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