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Abstract–Silence and Rumor as Rhetorical Strategies in Basil's Letters

In this project we have analyzed the use of two non-technical communication strategies—rumor and silence—in the epistles of Basil of Caeserea. We have approached silence as Basil’s method to manage his self-image and his engagement with the theological landscape of the fourth century, and rumor as narrative strategy to alter the reputation of an enemy or to manipulate it for their own benefit. In effect, our study shows that rumor and silence held a symbiotic relationship that resulted in a dynamic cycle of retreat and retaliation in a forensic atmosphere. We have come to understand the corpus comprised of the letters concerning the Eustathius affair as an Apologia Basilii.

About Ryan Fowler and Alberto Quiroga Puertas

Ryan C. Fowler (PhD Rutgers University) teaches at Franklin and Marshall College and the Lancaster Theological Seminary. At the Center in the fall, he will be working with Alberto Quiroga Puertas on atechnoi in the Cappadocian Fathers. Ryan directs the yearly Greek and Latin Sunoikisis faculty seminars and fall courses, and the Sunoikisis-X courses in the spring. He recently completed two book manuscripts: The Imperial Plato (a translation of Albinus’s Introduction to Plato, Maximus of Tyre’s Dissertation 11, and Apuleius’s On Plato, forthcoming with Parmenides Press), and Plato in the Third Sophistic (forthcoming [September 2014], De Gruyter). Alberto J. Quiroga Puertas (PhD University of Granada) is a Ramón y Cajal Fellow at the Ancient Greek Department at the University of Granada. His main research interests include Greek imperial literature and late antique rhetoric. He has published on the impact of rhetoric in the creation of cultural and religious identities in Late Antiquity (The Purpose of Rhetoric in Late Antiquity. From Performance to Exegesis. ed. by Alberto J. Quiroga Puertas, Mohr Siebeck, 2013). His research at the CHS will deal with the implications of non-technical proofs in the works of the Cappadocian Fathers.

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