Philosophy, Rhetoric, and Sophistry in the High Roman Empire

Maximus of Tyre and Twelve Other Intellectuals


How is it possible that modern scholars have labelled Maximus of Tyre, a second-century CE performer of philosophical orations, as a sophist or a ‘half-philosopher’, while his own self-presentation is that of a genuine philosopher? If we take Maximus’ claim to philosophical authority seriously, his case can deepen our understanding of the dynamic nature of Imperial philosophy. Through a discursive analysis of twelve Imperial intellectuals alongside Maximus’ dialexeis, the author proposes an interpretative framework to assess the purpose behind the representation of philosophy, rhetoric, and sophistry in Maximus’ oeuvre. This is thus as yet the first book-length attempt at situating the historical communication process implicit in the surviving Maximean texts in the concurrent context of the Imperial intellectual world.

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Jeroen Lauwers, Ph.D. (2012), University of Leuven, is a postdoctoral scholar of Classics and Literary Studies at that university. His interests include Imperial Greek literature, ancient literary theory and criticism, and receptions of the classical world.

Scholarly Reception
From the Collective to the Individual
From Macrolevel to Microlevel
Why Maximus?
1 Philosophy, Rhetoric, and Sophistry in the Roman Empire
1 The Traditional Conflict: A Short Overview
2 Greco-Roman Imperial Culture
3 A Functionalist Approach
4 Individual Authors
2 The dialexeis of Maximus of Tyre
1 Reading Maximus’ dialexeis
2 Communication and Pedagogy
3 Sophistry
4 Rhetoric
5 Philosophy
6 Purpose and Meaning
7 Analysis of Individual dialexeis
Index Locorum
Index of Persons and Concepts
All interested in the intellectual life of Imperial Rome, ancient philosophy (especially the reception of Plato), ancient theology, and ancient rhetoric (especially the so-called Second Sophistic).