The Many Facets of the Second Sophistic – Colloquium at the University of Gothenburg

5 Aug-2015 | Skrivet av Mikael Johansson i Okategoriserade

The Many Facets of the Second Sophistic – Colloquium at the University of Gothenburg

October 23–25, 2015

The term Second Sophistic was originally coined in the early third century A.D. by the Greek sophist and biographer Philostratus. Philostratus had the Greek rhetorical activity from the time of Emperor Nero to c. 230 in mind, but the term is nowadays used in a much wider sense. In modern scholarship all kinds of literary currents of the early and late imperial periods are included, even though some scholars still use the expression Second Sophistic only for the rhetorical works of the sophists. Thus, whereas the term itself is generally accepted and frequently used, its meaning is controversial.

One current debate concerns whether the Second Sophistic is followed by yet another sophistic period, the Third Sophistic. This term is advocated by some scholars to distinguish later imperial Greek literature from the literature of the actual Second Sophistic. The term was first suggested in 1993 by Laurent Pernot in La rhétorique de l’éloge dans le monde gréco-romain, but the debate on the necessity and accuracy of the term has peaked in the last decade, with numerous articles for and against the concept.

The University of Gothenburg announces a colloquium on the many facets of the Second Sophistic. It aims at shedding light on the many sophistics of modern scholarship and seeks to explore the following topics: What do specific modern researchers mean by the term Second Sophistic? At what point in time does it begin and when does it end? Could philosophical, theological, and scientific literatures be part of the Second Sophistic, or should the term be limited only to Greek rhetorical literature of Roman imperial times? The colloquium at the University of Gothenburg does not aim at settling scientific controversies as much as being an arena for a discussion of the many facets of the Second Sophistic.

The colloquium will take place at the Department of Languages and Literatures, University of Gothenburg, from Friday, October 23 to Sunday, October 25, 2015, room G412.


October 23

13:00 Welcome

13:30 Robert J. Penella (Fordham University)

“Declamation and Extempore Speech as Hallmarks of Philostratus’s Second Sophistic”

14:15 William Guast (University of Oxford)

“Defining the Second Sophistic: A Rhetorical-Theoretical Approach”

15:00 Coffee

15:30 Laurent Pernot (Université de Strasbourg)

“The Second Sophistic: ‘Pointless invention’ or Concept of Operations?”

16:15 Claire R. Jackson (University of Cambridge)

“Boundary Issues: Reconsidering the Ancient Novel and the Second Sophistic”

19:00 Dinner

October 24

10:00 Marius Gerhardt (Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung, Berlin)

“The View from below: Papyrological Evidence for Sophistic Activity in Roman Egypt”

10:45 Kai Brodersen (Universität Erfurt)

“Like Father, like Son? Academic families in Philostratus’ Lives of the Sophists

11:30 Coffee

12:00 Anna Peterson (The Pennsylvania State University)

“Staging the Self: Lucian, Libanius, and the Reception of Old Comedy”

13:30 Lunch

15:00 Emily Kneebone (University of Cambridge)

“Imperial Greek Epic and the Second Sophistic”

15:45 Francesca Modini (King’s College)

“ἔσοπτρον ἴσαμεν: Second and Third Sophistic in the Mirror of Ancient Lyric Reception”

18:00 Dinner

October 25

09:00 Eleni Bozia (University of Florida)

“How Important is Quellenforschung for the Study of the Second Sophistic: Research Issue or Conundrum?”

09:45 Mali Skotheim (Princeton University)

“‘Naked Competitions’: Misreading Greek Festival Culture in Philostratus’ Life of Apollonios of Tyana

10:30 Coffee

11:00 Daniel Richter (University of Southern California):

“Eloquentia Graeca, Patria Barbara: Nature and Culture in the Second Sophistic”

11:45 David Westberg (Uppsala universitet)

“Stoic Rhetorical Theory (or Not?) in the Technographical Manuals of Late Antiquity”

12:30 Concluding discussion


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