The Many Facets of the Second Sophistic – Colloquium at the University of Gothenburg
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. We welcome participants whose research field is the Second Sophistic, especially those who specialize on the term as such or who focus on the chronological or literary boundaries of the period.
The colloquium 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. 250–300 word abstracts are due by March 1, 2015 and may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.