The Enthymeme: Syllogism, Reasoning, and Narrative in Ancient Greek Rhetoric

The Enthymeme: Syllogism, Reasoning, and Narrative in Ancient Greek Rhetoric

by James Fredal

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Central to rhetorical theory, the enthymeme is most often defined as a truncated syllogism. Suppressing a premise that the audience already knows, this rhetorical device relies on the audience to fill in the missing information, thereby making the argument more persuasive. James Fredal argues that this view of the enthymeme is wrong. Presenting a new exegesis of Aristotle and classic texts of Attic oratory, Fredal shows that the standard reading of Aristotle’s enthymeme is inaccurate—and that Aristotle himself distorts what enthymemes are and how they work.

From close analysis of the Rhetoric, Topics, and Analytics, Fredal finds that Aristotle’s enthymeme is, in fact, not syllogistic and is different from the enthymeme as it was used by Attic orators such as Lysias and Isaeus. Fredal argues that the enthymeme, as it was originally understood and used, is a technique of storytelling, primarily forensic storytelling, aimed at eliciting from the audience an inference about a narrative. According to Fredal, narrative rather than formal logic is the seedbed of the enthymeme and of rhetoric more broadly.

The Enthymeme reassesses a fundamental doctrine of rhetorical instruction, clarifies the viewpoints of the tradition, and presents a new form of rhetoric for further study and use. This groundbreaking book will be welcomed by scholars and students of classical rhetoric, the history of rhetoric, and rhetorical theory as well as communications studies, classical studies, and classical philosophy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780271086811
Publisher: Penn State University Press
Publication date: 05/28/2020
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 226
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

James Fredal is Associate Professor of English at The Ohio State University. He is the author of Rhetorical Action in Ancient Athens: Persuasive Artistry from Solon to Demosthenes.

Table of Contents


Part One 3.0

1. Enthymeme 3.0: The Truncated Syllogism

2. 3.0 and Its Problems

Part Two 2.0

3. Aristotle, Sullogismos, and 2.0

4. 2.0 and Its Problems

Part Three 1.0

5. Enthymizing in the Orators

6. Oratorical Enthymizing in Context

7. Enthymizing and Adversarial Narratives

Part Four Lysias and the Enthymeme

8. Enthymizing in Lysias 1, On the Death of Eratosthenes

9. A Many-Layered Tale





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