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Gnomic discourse
(957 words)

The term “ gnomic” comes from the Greek gnōme (“insight,” “aphorism”) and refers, depending on the context, either to the human power of cognition or to the results thereof. The rhetorical use of the term in Greek goes back to Isocrates (4th century BCE), when he recommends the use of excerpts from the poets; however it was first defined in the rhetorical textbooks of the pseudo-Aristotelian Rhetorica ad Alexandrum, and in the works of Aristotle himself. For them, gnōme was a universally applicable proverb or epigram (in various syntactic forms), memorable in its br…

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Peil, Dietmar, “Gnomic discourse”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 19 October 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_020324>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20180915



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