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Abstract–Isocrates’ Theory of Goodwill (Eunoia) as a Precursor of Emotional Intelligence

Εunoia is one of Isocrates’ core paideutic concepts. In my article, I aim to show that if Isocratean philosophical and rhetorical pedagogy is meaningfully modified and combined with eunoia into a nuanced system of Emotional Intelligence (EI), applicable to internal and international politics and public relations, then eunoia emerges as a versatile, multifarious and interactive emotion and concept. In that sense, it comprises a special emotional configuration, resulting from the cognitive appraisal of feelings as subjective experiences of emotional state, bodily symptoms, facial and vocal expressions and action tendencies. On the Peace and Antidosis present us with two different uses of eunoia-theory at a macro- and micro-level. In On the Peace Isocrates applies the theory of eunoia to interstate relations and contextualizes it within the causality of 5th and 4th c. BCE events. In Antidosis, he applies the same theory to the relation between an individual and the Athenians as a collective body in the form of an audience, either legislators or jurors.

About Maria Xanthou

Maria G. Xanthou (PhD Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) is a Teaching Fellow at the Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Bristol. She has previously taught Classical Languages, Literature and Thought and ICT in teaching classical languages at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki since 2001. She also taught at the Open University of Cyprus and collaborated with the Centre for Greek Language in Thessaloniki in a number of research projects on the use of ICT in teaching classical languages. Her research interests include Greek lyric poetry, both monodic and choral (Stesichorus, Pindar and Bacchylides), Aristophanic and Attic comedy (5th c. BCE), Attic rhetoric (Isocrates), history of classical scholarship (German classical scholarship of the 19th c.), textual criticism, literary theory, rhetoric, ancient theory of rhetoric (definition and use of asyndeton), e-learning, ICT use for teaching classical languages and integration of ICT methodologies in the curriculum. While at CHS, she pursued further research on the social and cultural construction of fear (φόβος), awe (δέος) and anger (ὀργή) as emotions in the 5th and 4th c. BCE political scene in Attica, Greek mainland and the islands, and the formation of goodwill (εὔνοια) as a response towards these emotions and its significance in the development of Isocrates’ emotional intelligence theory.

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