Classical Writers = Smart!

I recently picked up a few of the classical rhetorical writers at the Library, and have been reading through some of Quintilian. Quintilian was a first century Roman orator, and I must say: this guy was smart! I’m embarrassed to say I’ve hardly read any of the classic writers from Greek or Rome. I think the extent before this week Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. But nevertheless, I’m trying to remedy this now.

The work I’m reading is titled Institutio Oratoria of Quintilian, in the Loeb Classical Library series. The work is basically a treatise on rhetoric, both what it is and how it should be taught. It’s immensely insightful, and quite dense at points! These guys were very, very smart and it shows. I’m hoping that reading this will give me some insight into the ancient practice of rhetoric, and in turn help me understand how the early Christians used (or didn’t use) it. At the very least, I’ll understand argument better! I also plan on working through at least some of Aristotle’s work on rhetoric.

~alex

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