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Galen, Satire And The Compulsion To Instruct

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores Galen's attitude toward instruction and teaching, and particularly the ways in which he conceptualized the didactic function of his writings. Galen's own rhetoric about why he wrote was often strident - his disparagement of contemporaries is famous, and his fondness for polemic is often regarded as a function of an eristic and arrogant personality. The chapter suggests that Galen's self-avowed role as a kind of public censor may derive as much from an amalgamation of rhetorical postures found in various literary and philosophical genres as it does from an inherently intemperate character. By examining various passages in Galen's protreptic and psychological works, it argues that his frequent stances of vituperative indignation and self-righteousness often resemble those found in satirical writings, from Cynic diatribe through Greek and Roman satirical poetry. Galen no doubt felt himself to be working in a serious tradition of Platonic and Stoic moralizing.

Keywords: didactic function; Galen; Greek; instruct; literary; psychological works; Roman satirical poetry; satirical writings; Stoic moralizing

10.1163/ej.9789004172487.i-566.93
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