TITLE

The State of Babel After the Fall: Philo Judaeus and the Possibility of Rhetoric

AUTHOR(S)
REEVES, JOSHUA
PUB. DATE
January 2014
SOURCE
Advances in the History of Rhetoric;2014, Vol. 17 Issue 1, p34
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
This article contextualizes Philo Judaeus's treatise De Confusione Linguarum in rhetorical and intellectual history. While most interpretations of the Tower of Babel legend have found that its primary function is to explain the dispersion of the world's diverse nations and languages, Philo argues that the "confusion of tongues" signifies a more basic existential condition. For Philo, this confusion disrupted humankind's capacity for perfect communication, helping us value rhetorical action as an essential element of the confused, ongoing process of struggle that characterizes our everyday sociality. The confusion of tongues, therefore, simultaneously gave rise to rhetoric and the masses, as it imposed a principle of difference in language and discordant heterogeneity in the social order.
ACCESSION #
95880155

 

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