What is a rhetorician actually doing? Writing? Speaking?
Quintilian, and J.S. Watson. Institutes of Oratory. Edited by Lee Honeycutt, 2010. Kindle Electronic Edition. Book II Chapter 21
Quintilian asks what the subject of oratory is. This seems an odd question, but it becomes more clear as he answers. Possibly it is the work making speeches like a sculptor makes statues (II.21.1). This may be the case, but it could mean oratory is words. Saying it is making arguments is possibly valid, but Quintilian thinks too restrictive (II.21.2). Some say it is a virtue or a particular kind of virtue (II.21.3). Quintilian states “that the material of oratory is everything that may come before an orator for discussion” (II.21.11). This is consistent with Plato and Cicero. Quintilian’s definition is criticized because it leaves oratory “as discoursing n every subject” (II.21.7). This may be the case, but other disciplines also work with a wide variety of elements. There is overlap among various arts. Some object that Quintilian has just defined philosophy. He sees the realm of work as being very similar, a good man considering “what is good, useful, and just” (II.21.12). This requires that an orator have extensive knowledge in many fields (II.21.14). Broad understanding is helpful to many people.
END OF BOOK II
All the work of Wittenberg Door Campus Ministry, including this blog, is supported by the generosity of people like you. Please consider joining our team of prayer and financial supporters. Read more here!