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The Varieties of Religious Communication in the Rhetoric of Loukianos of Samosata

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Chapter Summary

This chapter insists upon the central importance of rhetorical performance culture generally, of the Second Sophistic, and of Loukianos of Samosata specifically to an understanding of religious and cultural self-definition at the beginning of "Late Antiquity" in Eastern Mediterranean world. A basic premise of the chapter is that the Second Sophistic was or pretended to be a religious renewal movement: well before the great wave of religious self-definition in the 4th century, typical sophists were very publicly and widely engaged in redefining polytheist discourse as a verbal and gestural system. The chapter describes the impact of the Second Sophistic on the possibility of talking about religion and thus, among other things, on the communicability of the Gospel in middle and Late Antiquity. The author wishes to survey Loukianos of Samosata as an observer of the conditions of both religious communication and sophistic persuasion at the beginning of the 3rd century.

Keywords: Late Antiquity; Loukianos; polytheist discourse; religious communication; Samosata; Second Sophistic



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