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Rhetorica: A Journal of the History of Rhetoric ... SPECIAL ISSUE: RHETORIC AND MEDICINE

Rhetorica: A Journal of the History of Rhetoric

Volume 41, Number 3 • Summer 2023


Special Issue Editor
Caroline Petit


Caroline Petit, Rhetoric and Medicine: Introduction

Abstract: This introduction offers a brief overview of the scholarly landscape on rhetoric and medicine from antiquity to early modern times. It argues that the relationships between rhetoric and medicine offer a field of study quite distinct from the rhetoric of science, and that they can be understood and approached from multiple angles. It then describes the contents of the papers in relation with the argument.

Keywords: rhetoric, medicine, rhetoric of science, Galen

Giulia Maltagliati, The Rhetoric of Transparency: Telling Knowledge in Ancient Medical and Forensic Texts

Abstract: This paper investigates the role of rhetoric within ancient medicine by setting medical writings in dialogue with contemporary forensic texts. Reading across these two genres allows us to capture the shared ways in which early medical and forensic discourse mobilise rhetoric in response to the epistemological limits of medical and forensic practice. Both medical and forensic discourse frame factual and practical knowledge as the remedy to the slippages of words, but at the same time they need words to formulate and validate their tentative knowledge of those very facts. Select readings from the Epidemics illustrate the importance of a rhetorically structured narrative in response to uncertain scenarios. Much like the narrative of forensic texts, I argue, the case-histories of the Epidemics try to shape elusive realities through a rhetorical gesture that confers a precise meaning upon them. Rhetoric, the paper concludes, is not merely an embellishment nor a skill. It is, instead, a medium for the communication of knowledge and the negotiation of its limits, even in texts that at first glance seem, or claim, to be devoid of any rhetorical features.

Keywords: ancient medicine, rhetoric, forensic oratory, Epidemics, knowledge, transparency

Ignacio Sánchez , A Religious Polemic in Galenic Garb? Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq’s (d. 260/873) Kitāb al-Karma (On Vines) and his Encomium of Wine

Abstract: Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq (192-260/808-873) is mainly known as a translator of Greek works into Arabic, but he was also a prolific author. This article focuses on one of his least known treatises, On Vines (Kitāb al-Karma), which still remains unedited. On Vines is an eclectic and unclassifiable work that combines different genres. It has been traditionally considered a dietetic treatise on the properties of vine products inserted in the Galenic tradition. But On Vines is also a disputation on the excellence of trees written in the form of questions and answers and, ultimately, a polemical encomium of wine that relies for its effect on the opinions of ancient Greek authorities such as Homer, Diogenes, Aristotle, Socrates or Theophrastus. In this article I analyse the structure of the treatise, identifiying its generic affiliations and the rhetorical strategies deployed by Ḥunayn. I discuss specially the long sections on wine and Ḥunayn’s defence of the virtues of this drink against its critics, arguing that the structure of the treatise is also determined by the religious implications of praising wine in an Islamic environment.

Keywords: Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq, Galen, wine, vine, Abbasids, encomium, epideictic

Caroline Petit, Médecine et humanisme en Périgord: l’invention de la langue française selon Ervé Fayard

Abstract: Cette étude met en lumière une figure négligée de l’humanisme français et aquitain (Périgord) dans le contexte de la littérature médicale. Il s’agit d’un ouvrage peu connu, la « traduction » du traité des Simples de Galien en français par le médecin Ervé Fayard (1548). L’analyse du texte comme des paratextes montre une démarche auctoriale singulière dans le contexte dynamique de la production de livres médicaux en langue française au milieu du seizième siècle. Fayard se distingue également dans le débat autour de l’orthographe du français, avec une préface sur ce sujet que l’on peut qualifier d’originale et de précoce. La rhétorique des paratextes (textes liminaires, portrait de l’auteur) conspire avec les choix d’auteur et de traducteur de Fayard pour faire apparaître un écrivain original et lettré. La comparaison avec les efforts contemporains mieux documentés de Jean Canappe à Lyon, auteur d’une autre traduction (partielle) du même ouvrage de Galien, montre de vifs contrastes. Fayard propose donc une voie et une voix propres, toutes en simplicité calculée, à l’opposé de Galien lui-même.

Keywords: Galien, Ervé Fayard, humanisme, rhétorique médicale, simples, langue française, paratextes, Périgord                           

Veronique Montagne, La Dialectique en François pour les barbiers et les chirurgiens (1553) d’Adrien L’Alemant: première dialectique médicale en français

Abstract: La réflexion développée ici est le prélude à une édition critique de la Dialectique en François pour les barbiers et les chirurgiens, texte d’Adrien L’Alemant (1527-1559) publié en 1553, à Reims, chez Thomas Richard. L’ouvrage paraît dans le contexte épistémologique très spécifique de la seconde moitié de la Renaissance, dans ce moment où se met en place un discours « scientifique » en langue vernaculaire, à partir de l’héritage que constituent les textes logiques et/ou médicaux de l’Antiquité et du Moyen Âge.

Keywords: Dialectique, logique, Renaissance, médecine, Galien, Adrien L’Alemant

Stephen Pender, Rhetoric and Disposition, Temperament and Place: Polykleitan Rule

Abstract: This paper explores the relationships between style and complexion, temperament and disposition, climate and place in seventeenth-century thought. Facility and variation in style not only depend on reason, judgement, and responsiveness, but on the material substrata of the imagination and memory, in turn conditioned by air and temperament, climate and the uneven geographical distribution of environmental and internal, vital heat. This ensemble ofconcernes spurred wide-ranging enquiry in early modern anthropology, ethnography, and rhetoric, which I examine her in order to substantiate the mathematician and rhetorician Bernard Lamy’s 1675 claim that “Every Clymat hath its style.”

Keywords: early modern rhetoric, style, ethnography, Bernard Lamy, animal spirits, vital heat

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