Show Less
Restricted access

Glossae – Scholia – Commentarii

Studies on Commenting Texts in Antiquity and Middle Ages


Edited By Mieczyslaw Mejor, Katarzyna Jazdzewska and Anna Zajchowska

The role of commentary as a basic method of research used broadly in both Classical Antiquity and the Middle Ages still awaits further analysis. Commentary as a research and didactic method becomes especially interesting in a multicultural perspective: were Buddhist and Arabic texts commented in the same way as it was done by late antique and medieval scholars? The extensive medieval commentary literature still awaits scholarly assessment from the perspective of theory of literature as well as methodology and history of various scientific disciplines.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Angelika Modlińska-Piekarz: Byzantine Theory of Paraphrase in Rhetorical Treatises and Commentaries and the Original Version of Theon’s Progymnasmata



Byzantine Theory of Paraphrase in Rhetorical Treatises and Commentaries and the Original Version of Theon’s Progymnasmata1

Angelika Modlińska-Piekarz

Library of The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin

Intentional and deliberate imitation of an existing text which retains its general sense while changing the form – later called paraphrasing or paraphrase – was practiced as a rhetorical exercise by Greek speakers already in the fifth century BC. One of the oldest and most significant references to paraphrasing comes from Isocrates, who in his Πανηγυρικός justified the value of repeating the same thing in various ways (Panegyricus 7−9). Also Plutarch provides testimony of the practice of paraphrase when he relates that Demosthenes was famous on account of his ability to talk about the same topic in many different ways, and that he had a habit of paraphrasing his own orations as well as speeches of others (Demosthenes 8.2).2 As a rhetorical exercise, paraphrase was also used by Roman orators, which is confirmed by Cicero (De oratore 1.154).

However, none of Greek or Roman rhetors discussed paraphrase as fully and comprehensively as Theon did. Theon treats paraphrase in the introductory chapter to his Προγυμνάσματα (Progymnasmata), preserved in the Greek original (Prog. 62.10−24 Spengel)3, where he defines it as an expression of the ← 101 | 102 → same thought in different words and in a different way. He justifies this practice arguing that the same thing can be presented well not once but many times and...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.