Primary Sources:

Isocrates. Antidosis. Ed. George Norlin. Perseus. Tufts University, n.d. Web. 24 Jan. 2014.

I found this text by searching the Perseus online archive, which we had discussed in class. It was initially difficult to find the text because my searches were bringing up only texts which included my search words: Isocrates and Antidosis. I eventually found a link to the full text by searching through the English version of Isocrates’ Speeches, which includes several other works besides Antidosis. Antidosis itself is divided into 323 short sections. There are links to each of the footnotes, and even some links to other texts that are referenced or connected somehow. I would recommend Perseus to other students; however, it is necessary for students to take some time to get to know the technology before it is user friendly.

Isocrates. Antidosis. Ed. George Norlin. Internet Archive. University of Toronto Libraries, n.d. Web.  24 Jan. 2014.

I found this text by conducting a Google search for full text versions of Isocrates’ Antidosis. I found the Internet archive and initially had difficulty finding the text. The formatting of the website made it hard to find a link to the text, which was somewhat hidden. Once I found the link to the full text version, I found the display easy to read and easily searchable. The text is presented like a book with the Greek version on one side and the English version on the other. When searching for a word, the word is marked on a timeline showing how many times it occurs in the text, making it easy to navigate. I would recommend this database.

Citations and Rhetorical Précis’:

Benoit, William L. “Isocrates and Plato on Rhetoric and Rhetorical Education.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 21.1 (1991): 60-71.

  1. William Benoit in his article “Isocrates and Plato on Rhetoric and Rhetorical Education,” claims the differences in Plato and Socrates’ perspectives of rhetoric and rhetorical education can be attributed to the differences in who they studied with and their personal histories.
  2. He uses primary speeches and dialogues to explain that Plato’s and Isocrates’ similarities in rhetorical perspectives, such as their shared belief in the morality of rhetoric, potentially came from their both studying under Socrates and their desire to differentiate their teachings from the sophists, and their differences, such as Isocrates’ valuing practical knowledge where Plato thought that knowledge was required for rhetoric, came from Isocrates’ work as a logographer while Plato went to war during his youth.
  3. His purpose is to compare and contrast Isocrates’ and Plato’s perspectives in order that the reader can see that, although there are many similarities between their perspectives, the differences most likely stem from the variations in experiences in their lives.
  4. Benoit creates a scholarly relationship with the readers by clearly comparing and contrasting each rhetorician’s perspective based on their writings and their views.

Behme, Tim. “Isocrates on the Ethics of Authorship.” Rhetoric Review 23.3 (2004): 197-215.

  1. Tim Behme, in his article “Isocrates on the Ethics of Authorship,” argues that Isocrates’ focus on the unique expression of ideas, even if these ideas were not original, played an important role in the history of the ethics of authorship, and awareness of historical concepts of originality helps historians determine which historical figures were predecessors to our contemporary opinions of originality and to understand how ancient understandings of originality differs from modern understandings.
  2. Behme begins his argument by discussing other aspects of Isocrates’ work that have been examined, then Isocrates’ emphasis on originality and its competitive nature, and finally the importance of being aware of changes in meaning of vocabulary used during different periods.
  3. His purpose of this article is to show how examining the perspectives of historical figures on originality, such as Isocrates, helps historians understand both the development of our contemporary understandings of originality and that contemporary concepts of originality and plagiarism cannot be imposed on ancient cultures.
  4. Behme creates an academic relationship with his readers by expanding the scholarly conversation surrounding Isocrates’ work to include its impact on authorship ethics.

Marzluf, Phillip P. “Aptitude or Experience? Isocratic Ambivalence and the Ethics of Composition.” Rhetoric Review 23.4 (2004): 293-310.

  1. Philip Marzluf, in his article “Aptitude or Experience? Isocratic Ambivalence and the Ethics of Composition,” contends that Isocrates’ notions of aptitude and practice can be useful in examining modern composition studies.
  2. Marzluf opens his essay with a brief examination of the current issues surrounding basic writing and the concept of natural ability in the modern day classroom, then delves in to this theme in classical rhetorical tradition, examining Quintilian, Plato, and Isocrates, returning at the end with a brief examination of how the classical opinions of rhetorical aptitude are still prevalent and injurious in today’s educational system.
  3. His purpose is to reveal similarities between classical and modern opinions of the importance of natural ability and study in becoming a great orator in order to invoke change to the common, damaging, assumption that writing is a natural ability, not a learned skill.
  4. Marzluf engages scholarly audiences who are interested in the fields of classic Greek rhetoric and modern composition theory by connecting these two fields and examining how classic opinions of aptitude are still prevalent in current composition studies, especially the area of basic writing.

Other Citations:

Chase, Kenneth R. “Constructing Ethics through Rhetoric: Isocrates and Piety.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 95.3 (2009): 239-262.

Papillion, Terry. “Isocrates’ Techne and Rhetorical Pedagogy.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 25 (1995): 149-163.

Isocrates. “Antidosis.” Isocrates with an English Translation in three volumes Ed. and Trans. by George Norlin. Perseus Digital Library. N.d. Tufts University. Web. 24 January 2014.


I found this copy of “Antidosis” on the Perseus Digital Library; it is listed under Isocrates through the Greek and Roman Materials, but it is not easy to find through the search bar. The Greek and Roman Materials archive has both the Greek version and the English translation, which, while not necessarily helpful to students, adds a certain gravitas to the work itself. The website breaks up the piece by paragraph, with footnotes following just below. The footnotes make it an excellent reference for close reading. The text is searchable by keyword, but it is not very “skimable” because of the small flashes of material available at one time.


Isocrates. “Antidosis.” University of Mary-Harlan Baylor Library. N.d. University of Mary-Harlan Baylor. Web. 24 January 2014.


This copy of “Antidosis” is a downloadable Word document. I found it by searching “Antidosis full text” on Google, and UMHB hosts this copy for educational use through Perseus. The format of the piece makes it easy to save and revisit, and the Ctrl+F function is available for the document to search for key terms. While the document and the search locations both say that the text comes from Perseus, there is no indication of a translator or a collected volume for this work, contrasting the ease of downloading the document with less identifiable credibility.


Isocrates. “Antidosis.” Isocrates with an English translation. Ed. George Norlin. N.d. Internet Archive. Web. 24 January 2014.


This is the same translation by George Norlin that is hosted on the Perseus Digital Archive, but this version is in one continuous body of text from Norlin’s entire book, not just this piece. This means that in order to find “Antidosis,” a reader must use the Ctrl+F function and scroll down to the piece. The piece is also in one continuous piece of text rather than broken up by paragraph. The full page of text makes this version better for skimming than for close reading. While the keyword search is helpful, the fact that a reader may have to scroll through multiple instances of a keyword to even get to the right piece of writing makes this version very cumbersome.


Benoit, William. “Isocrates and Aristotle on Rhetoric.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 20.3 (Summer 1990): 251-259.


William Benoit, in his article “Isocrates and Aristotle on Rhetoric” (1990), suggests that comparing Isocrates’ and Aristotle’s views on rhetoric can give a fuller picture of the role of rhetoric during their overlapping teaching years. Benoit begins by describing the philosophies of the Sophists and Plato—Isocrates having often been considered a Sophist and Aristotle having been a student of Plato—in order to locate Isocrates’ and Aristotle’s philosophies as similar, though not identical, compromises between these two extremes. His purpose is to further explorations into the philosophical relationships between the prominent Classical figures in order to add to previous scholarship comparing Plato and Aristotle and Plato and Isocrates, but never Aristotle and Isocrates. Benoit writes to academics in the rhetoric field already involved in analysis of Greek and Roman rhetors, contributing to existing conversations surrounding the philosophical and epistemological theories of the time.


Livingstone, Niall. “Writing Politics: Isocrates’ Rhetoric of Philosophy.” Rhetorica: A Journal of the History of Rhetoric 25.1 (Winter 2007): 15-34.


Niall Livingston, in his article “Writing Politics: Isocrates’ Rhetoric of Philosophy” (2007), claims that while Isocrates’ career cannot be neatly identified within modern disciplinary bounds, his views on philosophy and education are still systematic and sophisticated. Livingston examines the definitions and connotations of the word philosophia within Isocrates’ work, delineating its use to mean the general act of thinking; the contemporary movement to systematize education; Isocrates’ particular brand of education, which far exceeds that of his competitors; and finally the product of Isocrates’ superior teachings, which only initiates can fully comprehend. Livingston’s purpose is to further the rhetorical analysis of Isocrates’ work without anachronistic expectations of Isocrates as a rhetorician, examining his writing for internal evidence of Isocrates’ intentions for political discourse and the power of education. Livingston writes to and in response to other academics who have expressed frustration at Isocrates’ ambiguity or who have dismissed his work as “non-Rhetoric” (as opposed to Plato) because of his refusal to define himself.


Rummel, Erika. “Isocrates’ Ideal of Rhetoric: Criteria of Evaluation.” The Classical Journal 75.1 (1979): 25-35.


Erika Rummel, in her article “Isocrates’ Ideal of Rhetoric: Criteria of Evaluation” (1979), asserts that Isocrates’ unique criteria for rhetoric are what make him an influential figure in the study of Greek classics. Rummel cites Isocrates’ own writing that rhetorical works should be judged on purpose, style, and content, situating him in a complex relationship with relativism and the work of the Sophists, the traditions of poetry and music, and issues of morality and ethics in political discourse. Her purpose is to unpack some of the complicated dynamic created by Isocrates’ profession as a rhetoric teacher and his sympathy for the pragmatic common citizen, demonstrating just how nuanced Isocrates’ career was. Rummel writes to an academic audience of classicists, establishing a range of potential impetuses for scholarly response through her emphasis both on Isocrates’ culturally rooted pragmatism and his unique philosophy.


Haskins, Ekaterina. “Choosing between Isocrates and Aristotle: Disciplinary Assumptions and Pedagogical Implications.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 36.2 (Spring 2006): 191-201.


Cahn, Michael. “Reading Rhetoric Rhetorically: Isocrates and the Marketing of Insight.” A Journal of the History of Rhetoric 7.2 (Spring 1989): 121-144.



“Isocrates, Antidosis.” Department of Classics, Tufts University, n.d.

Web. 25 January, 2014.


I did a Google search for “Isocrates Antidosis digital” and found this 1980 translation by George Norlin. The text is also available in Greek. The search function is available at the word level for the full text – it also searches the annotations, and the results are linked to the sections of the text, making it easy to be aware of context. This is a great resource for in depth study of this text.


“Isocrates with an English Translation”

Web. 24 January 2014.


This is a .pdf of a complete scan of Isocrates with an English Translation by George Norlin, Volume II. This volume includes On the Peace, Areopagiticus, Against the Sophist, Antidosis, and Panathenaicus, and the text is in both Greek and English. It appears to have been published in 1928, which makes me wonder about the date on the Perseus copy of this text. Because this is a .pdf you can use the “Edit/Find/Find…” feature if you open it in a web browser. This is an imperfect way of searching because it’s using automated text reading on a book with older typeface, but having access to this edition could be of benefit.

I found all of my sources through searches for “Isocrates Antidosis” on Google Scholar and the OSU library search tools.


Benoit, William L. “Isocrates on Rhetorical Education. ” Communication Education

33.2 (1984): 109-119. Web. 25 January 2014.


William Benoit, in his article “Isocrates on Rhetorical Education” (1984), asserts that Isocrates’ merits recognition as a major influence influence in early rhetoric.


Benoit gives evidence for the claim that Isocrates was a student of Protagoras and Socrates, describes his brief career as a logographer, then describes his contributions to rhetoric and most specifically to rhetorical education.


His purpose is to identify Isocrates’ views on rhetorical education through an examination of his criticisms of other educators–Benoit distills these view down to “Rhetoric is the worker or science of persuasion, is a branch of philosophy, it can alter our perceptions of things, it allows us to dispute with others and seek knowledge for ourselves” (113).


Benoit builds a steady case for Isocrates’ importance in the study of classical rhetoric, by letting other classical rhetoricians including Cicero and Quintilian; his article would provide helpful background for someone new to the study of classical rhetoric.
Chase, Kenneth R. “A Commentary on Isocrates’ Antidosis.” Quarterly Journal of

Speech 96.4 (2010): 472-476. Web. 26 January 2014.


In Kenneth Chase’s review of A Commentary on Isocrates’ Antidosis by Yun Lee Too, he describes Too’s thesis that Antidosis was Isocrates’ way of “entering the fray” (472) of the 4th Century battle between public oratory and literature; he faults Too for not exploring in greater depth the ways in which Antidosis impacted centuries of rhetorical pedagogy.


Chase identifies a point at which Too’s analysis goes too far into a depiction of Isocrates as advocating for the “‘good old days’ in which the [Athenian] elite…would  wisely direct a democratic Athens to a more glorious future” (473).

Chase recommends that those new to the study of Isocrates begin with The Rhetoric of Identity in Isocrates: Text, Power, Pedagogy by Josiah Ober before reading Too’s analysis, in order that they have a balanced perspective on the role of Antidosis in classical rhetoric.


Near the end of his review, Chase identifies an audience for Too’s book: those scholars (and here he includes himself) who “place Isocrates on a pedestal” (476).
Hawhee, Debra. “Bodily Pedagogies: Rhetoric, Athletics, and the Sophists’ Three Rs.”

College English 65.2 (2002): 142-162. Print.
Haskins, Ekaterina. “Choosing between Isocrates and Aristotle: Disciplinary

Assumptions and Pedagogical Implications.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 36.2

(2006): 191-201. Print.


Ekaterina Haskins, in her article “Choosing between Isocrates and Aristotle: Disciplinary Assumptions and Pedagogical Implications” (2006), challenges Aristotle’s centrality in the classical rhetorical canon and argues that Isocrates and Aristotle should be regarded as opponents in a debate over the scope, resources and ends of rhetorical education.


Haskins identifies five central assumptions about classical Greek rhetoric, which she then addresses one by one in favor of the pedagogical value of a more prominent role for Isocrates.


Her purpose is to argue for an expansion of the canon of classical rhetoric, including other works by Plato and Aristotle in order to “challenge the perception of homogeneity and historical transcendence” (198); she uses the second half of her article to suggest ways to accomplish this kind of change.
Haskin’s article will be of interest to scholars of classical rhetoric who are interested in practical actions towards the diversification of the rhetorical canon.


Primary sources

Isocrates. “Antidosis.” Isocrates, Volume I. Trans. George Norlin. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1928. Tufts University. Perseus Digital Library. Web. 25 January 2014. (Available here.)

This version of Antidosis is an electronic text based on the translations of George Norlin, and not a photocopy of an older text, so it is quite easy to read. This database also organizes this text in one- to two-sentence sections, allowing for each part to be easily digestible for the reader of this somewhat complex text; a search function allows the reader to also seek out specific sections of the text.

Isocrates. The Orations of Isocrates. Trans.  J.H. Freese. London: George Bell & Sons, 1894. Google Books. Web. 25 January 2014. (Available here.)

While Antidosis is not available in this digitized edition of this book, there are 10 photocopied (but searchable) versions of Isocrates’ works, none of which are found in the BH text. Therefore, this resource may be of use to anyone looking to further explore Isocrates through primary texts.

Isocrates. Isocrates I. Trans. David C. Mirhady and Yun Lee Too. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000. Google Books. Web. 25 January 2014. (Available here.)

This photocopied but searchable compilation of primary texts includes not only Antidosis but Against the Sophists–also found in the BH text–and several other primary texts.

Secondary sources

Gogan, Brian. “Exchange in On the Exchange: A Baudrillardian Perspective on Isocrates’ Antidosis.” Rhetoric Review 31.4 (2012): 353-370. JSTOR. Web. 25 January 2014.

In “Exchange in On the Exchange: A Baudrillardian Perspective on Isocrates’ Antidosis,” an academic journal article published in 2012, Brian Gogan frames Isocrates’ “Antidosis” in a theoretical framework of the literary and cultural critic Jean Baudrillard, arguing that Antidosis provides excellent commentary on the current discourse surrounding the role of education in the context of the public good, and also provides educators with lessons in performance and persuasion necessary to defend the role of education. Gogan organizes his argument by defining Baudrillardian rhetoric–one that “sustains perpetual exchange” and circulation (355)–and then applying this lens to Antidosis by demonstrating that the text can be considered beyond the context of persuasion or identification; rather, Isocrates establishes a complex space for exchange in its offensive tone, its organization into two disparate parts, and the dynamic relationship between these two parts. By drawing comparisons between the classical “Antidosis” and contemporary issues, Gogan aims to demonstrate how arguments made by Isocrates in defense of the role as an educator can be recreated by today’s teachers in order that they can then use such arguments as a model to assert their efforts and decisions in a public forum. Not only intended for scholars of classical rhetoric, Gogan’s article would also be of use for educational policymakers and scholars.

Haskins, Ekaterina V. “’Mimesis’ between Poetics and Rhetoric: Performance Culture and Civic Education in Plato, Isocrates, and Aristotle.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 30.3 (2000): 7-33. JSTOR. Web. 25 January 2014.

Livingstone, Niall. “Writing Politics: Isocrates’ Rhetoric of Philosophy.” Rhetorica: A Journal of the History of Rhetoric 25.1 (2007): 15-34. JSTOR. Web. 25 January 2014.

Papillon, Terry L. “Mixed Unities in the “Antidosis” of Isocrates.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 27.4 (1997): 47-62. JSTOR. Web. 25 January 2014.

In the academic journal article “Mixed Unities in the Antidosis of Isocrates” (1997), Terry Papillon argues that Isocrates successfully defends himself in “Antidosis” by developing disparate sections of the text and weaving these sections together through the reiteration of the theme of the crucial role of education in the advancement of the Athenian state. Papillon presents his argument by defining the rhetorical situation, illustrating the swirling ideas found within “Antidosis” in the context of the rhetorical situation, exploring the synonyms and antonyms of “mixed” and the historical context of this word as a way to probe Isocrates’ description of his text’s “mixed rhetoric,” and eventually analyzing the public/civic and private/instructional sections of text before demonstrating how the seemingly disparate parts of “Antidosis” work together through the combination of this public and private oratory. Papillon focuses his argument by demonstrating how the overarching goal of unity in a composition can provide readers with a new perspective on the confrontation of the rhetorical situation in Isocrates’ texts, in order that a new “Isocratean methods of rhetorical composition” (47) to be identified and studied. The primary audience of Papillon’s article are likely readers and scholars of Isocrates’ texts as well as scholars of classical rhetoric in general, interested in the rhetorical study and teachings of Isocrates.

Rummel, Erika. “Isocrates’ Ideal of Rhetoric: Criteria of Evaluation.” The Classical Journal 75.1 (1979): 25-35. JSTOR. Web. 25 January 2014.

In her academic journal article “Isocrates’ Ideal of Rhetoric: Criteria of Evaluation” (1979), Erika Rummel presents a portrait of Isocrates that differentiates him from contemporaries due to his unique, morally focused approach to rhetoric, which borrows artistic characteristics from sophistic teachers as well as the “common man” interest in practicality, combining such with his own adherence to the goodness necessary in any quality rhetorical effort; Rummel also identifies three criteria that determine the quality of a rhetorical composition allow readers to see Isocrates’ eclectic approach and philosophy on rhetoric. Rummel delivers her claim by first discussing the importance of relativism and kairos in the context of Isocrates’ teaching as what anchors him in the practical, and then provides proof of Isocrates’ value in three criteria for quality rhetorical works: purpose, style, and content. Rummel intends to argue for Isocrates’ uniqueness within the world of teachers of rhetoric of his day in order that scholars of classical rhetoric separate him from the likes of Sophists who were more interested in the superficiality of rhetoric. While Rummel appears to have developed this article for scholars of classical rhetoric in general, she specifically engages scholars in the teachings of Isocrates and also those interested in the Sophists.