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Rhetoric in the Middle East

David A. Frank

Subject Linguistics
Communication Studies » Rhetorical Studies

Place Middle and Near East
Asia » Western Asia

People Said, Edward

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


An overview of rhetoric in the Middle East should begin with the recognition that the terms “rhetoric” and the “Middle East” are not neutral, as they reflect the ideological and cultural values of the Occident. There is a general consensus that the notion of rhetoric, coined by Plato in the fourth century bce to define the art of public →  Discourse and oratory practiced in ancient Greece and the western tradition, should be challenged for its Hellenocentrism. Western scholars of rhetoric have moved beyond the belief that those outside the constellations of Occidental thought lack a “rhetorical consciousness.” The ancient Africans, Egyptians, Hebrews, and Chinese reflected on the role of symbols and argument (→  Rhetoric in Africa ; Rhetoric in East Asia: China and Japan ; Rhetorical Studies ). Western rhetoric owes a deep dept to the Arab world, which preserved and translated the classical rhetorical texts of Greece and Rome during the Islamic world's renaissance in the ninth and tenth centuries ce , a period in which Athens yielded to Baghdad as the center of humanistic scholarship. Between 711 and 1492, the art of rhetoric flourished in Spain during the period known as La Convinencia (“the coexistence”) as Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived in a cosmopolitan community (→  Rhetoric in Western Europe: Spain ). The discourse of and in the modern Middle East is a tangle ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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