The "Second Sophistic" traditionally refers to a period at the
height of the Roman Empire's power that witnessed a flourishing of
Greek rhetoric and oratory, and since the 19th century it has often
been viewed as a defense of Hellenic civilization against the
domination of Rome. This book proposes a very different model.
Covering popular fiction, poetry and Greco-Jewish material, it
argues for a rich, dynamic, and diverse culture, which cannot be
reduced to a simple model of continuity. Shining new light on a
series of playful, imaginative texts that are left out of the
traditional accounts of Greek literature, Whitmarsh models a more
adventurous, exploratory approach to later Greek culture.
Beyond the Second Sophistic offers not only a new way of
looking at Greek literature from 300 BCE onwards, but also a
challenge to the Eurocentric, aristocratic constructions placed on
the Greek heritage. Accessible and lively, it will appeal to
students and scholars of Greek literature and culture, Hellenistic
Judaism, world literature, and cultural theory.
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