Religion Past and Present

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(236 words)

[German Version]

The Greek word διατριβή/diatribḗ has a range of meanings including “conversation,” “discourse,” “lecture,” and even “school.” The diatribe is distinguished by its dialogical character, including the use of imaginary opponents, hyphothetical objections, and false conclusions. It reflects the Socratic use of ἐλεγκτικὸς λόγος/elenktikós lógos, “censure,” and προτρεπτικὸς λόγος/protreptikós lógos, “persuasion.” Recent discussion of the diatribe focuses on three issues: 1. Is the diatribe an identifiable literary genre (Stowers) or …

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Aune, David E., “Diatribe”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 21 May 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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