Progymnasmata

The term progymnasmata (“preliminary/preparatory exercises”) refers to a series of compositional exercises that taught students in antiquity how to write and deliver declamations (speeches). The exercises educated students in the use of various elements of effective rhetoric, including “μῦθος (*fable), διήγημα (*narrative), χρεία (anecdotal apophthegm), γνώμη (maxim…), ἀνασκευή and κατασκευή (refutation and confirmation), κοινὸς τόπος (commonplace…), ἠθοποιΐα (speech written in character), ἔκφρασις (description…), θέσις (general question), [and] νόμου εἰσφορά (introduction of a law)” (Russell 2003, 1253). Each series contained a set of increasingly difficult exercises that were completed in writing and then read out loud.

There is secondary evidence for progymnasmata from a number of ancient authors, but modern scholars most frequently cite the surviving handbooks of Aelius Theon, Hermogenes, Aphthonius (the Sophist), Nicolaus of Myra (aka Nicolaus the Sophist or Pseudo-Nicolaus), and Libanius.

Although these five authors evidence significant overlap in the exercises included, they also demonstrate that there was no established pattern for the progymnasmatic curriculum. The handbooks do not all contain the same types of exercises, and even when they do, the exercises are frequently presented in a different order (see the table in Kennedy 2003, xiii).

With all that as background, we are ready to discuss how to cite the progymnasmata clearly and accurately.

1. SBL Press prefers to cite an author’s entire handbook as a single work with the title Progymnasmata, which should be abbreviated Prog.

2. We also recommend citing the exercise in question by number, that is, the place of the exercise in the entire handbook. For example, because chreia is the fourth section in Nicolaus’s handbook, it has been assigned the number 4. A reference to the chreia section would thus be:

Nicolaus, Prog. 4

Because Aphthonius discusses chreia third, a reference to the chreia section in his handbook would be:

Aphthonius, Prog. 3

We discourage the practice of citing an exercise by name rather than by number (e.g., Theon, Progymnasmata On Fable).

3. The standard numbering for the five handbooks mentioned above can be found in these editions and translations.

Theon: Spengel 1853–1856, 2:59–130 (text); Patillon and Bolognesi 1997 (text); Kennedy 2003, 1–72 (translation) (but see below)

Hermogenes: Rabe 1913, 1–27 (text); Kennedy 2003, 73–88 (translation)

Aphthonius: Rabe 1926 (text); Kennedy 2003, 89–127 (translation)

Nicolaus: Felten 1913 (text); Kennedy 2003, 129–72 (translation)

Libanius; Foerster 1915 (text); Gibson 2008 (text and translation)

4. When citing both a handbook and the corresponding section of a critical edition, add the citation of the edition after the handbook citation in the usual manner:

Theon, Prog. 4 (Spengel 2:73,28–74,15)

This citation points to the fable exercise in Theon’s handbook (4 per Kennedy; see next) and more specifically to line 28 of page 73 through line 15 of page 74 in volume 2 of Spengel’s Rhetores Graeci (1853–1856).

5. There are two further complications with the progymnasmata of which scholars should be aware. First, there is disagreement on the correct order of the exercises for Theon, as shown in the following comparison of Kennedy’s and Spengel’s orders of exercises:

Kennedy   Spengel
1 Preface 1
2 On the Education of the Young 2
3 On Chreia 5
4 On Fable 3
5 On Narrative 4
6 On Topos 7
7 On Ecphrasis 11
8 On Prosopopoeia 10
9 On Encomion and Invective 8
10 On Syncrisis 9
11 On Thesis 12
12 On Law 13
13 Reading Aloud and Its Object
14 Listening to What Is Read
15 Paraphrase
16 Elaboration
17 Contradiction, or Counter-Statement

Because of this variation, anyone citing Theon’s handbook should indicate which numbering scheme is being used (Kennedy’s is generally preferred).

Second, Libanius’s handbook is far longer and more complex than the others, which requires modification of the citation system. Unlike the other authors, Libanius includes multiple exercises for each type of exercise: three on fable, forty-one on narration, four on anecdote, and so on. Further, some of the individual exercises are divided into sections, which introduces an additional layer of complexity.

To ensure clarity and accuracy, we recommend that citations follow the same style as the other handbooks but add additional numbering to specify which exercise in a given group of exercises is in view, as well as which section in a particular exercise.

So, for example, Libanius’s groups of exercises are numbered as follows (numbers in parentheses indicate total exercises in the group):

  1. Fable (3)
  2. Narration (41)
  3. Anecdote (4)
  4. Maxim (3)
  5. Refutation and Confirmation (2 + 3)
  6. Common Topics (5)
  7. Encomium and Invective (9 + 8)
  8. Comparison (5)
  9. Speech in Character (27)
  10. Description (30)
  11. Thesis (3)
  12. Introduction of a Law (1)

Further, each of the three exercises on fable includes multiple sections:

1.1–3

2.1–3

3.1–4

Thus one could cite various parts of the fable exercises in Libanius as follows:

Libanius, Prog. 1 (a reference to all three exercises in the fable group)

Libanius, Prog. 1.2 (a reference to the second exercise in the fable group)

Libanius, Prog. 1.2.2 (a reference to the second section of the second exercise in the fable group)

For those who wish to learn more about these five progymnasmatic handbooks, see two volumes in SBL Press’s WGRW series: Kennedy 2003 and Gibson 2008.

Sources

Felten, Joseph, ed. 1913. Nicolai Progymnasmata. Leipzig: Teubner.

Foerster, Richard, ed. 1915. Progymnasmata, Argumenta orationum Demosthenicarum. Vol. 8 of Libanii Opera. Leipzig: Teubner.

Gibson, Craig A. 2008. Libanius’s Progymnasmata: Model Exercises in Greek Prose Composition and Rhetoric. WGRW 27. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature.

Kennedy, George A. 2003. Progymnasmata: Greek Textbooks of Prose Composition and Rhetoric. WGRW 10. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature.

Patillon, Michel, and Giancarlo Bolognesi, eds. 1997. Aelius Théon: Progymnasmata. Edition Budé. Paris: Belles Lettres.

Rabe, Hugo, ed. 1913. Hermogenis Opera. Leipzig: Teubner.

———. 1926. Aphthonii Progymnasmata. Leipzig: Teubner.

Russell, Donald A. 2003. Progymnasmata. Page 1253 in The Oxford Classical Dictionary. Edited by Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Spengel, Leonhard von. 1853–1856. Rhetores Graeci. 3 vols. Leipzig: Teubner.

Torah versus torah

Earlier posts discussed the question of when to write Gospel or gospel and when to write Epistle or epistle. This post deals with a related issue: when to write Torah or torah and when to write Law or law. Brief examples are provided in SBLHS 2 §§4.3.4.1 and 4.3.6. This post discusses these examples in more detail.

1. Capitalize Torah or Law when the term refers to a division of the canon (= the Pentateuch).

The Torah consists of the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings.

the Torah scroll

2. Capitalize Torah when it is used as a proper noun to distinguish between the Oral Torah and the Written Torah.

Many early Jews believed that the oral traditions of the community were as authoritative as the written commandments. The former traditions became known as the Oral Torah, and the latter became known as the Written Torah.

3. Use lowercase when torah or the law refers to general instruction or a legal code.

book of the law

laws of Israel

laws of Moses

Jewish law

Mosaic law

the torah of the burnt offering

Similarly, when torah is used as an equivalent to the law of Moses, use lowercase.

Mosaic torah

torah study

Note, however, that the canonical division of the Torah was traditionally associated with Moses. Thus, if referring to the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, one might say

the Torah of Moses

In such cases—when it is not clear if torah refers to the canonical division or the Jewish law more generally—authors and editors should consider revising their sentences to ensure that the meaning is clear to the reader:

original statement: The torah was central to early Jewish life.

possible revisions:

The Jewish law was central to early Jewish life.

OR

The books of the Torah were central to early Jewish thought.

Using law instead of torah signals to the reader that the Jewish law more generally is intended, while adding books to the sentence signals to the reader that the canonical division is envisioned.

Authorial Voice: I or We?

In formal academic prose, singular authors often refer to themselves in the plural.

In this chapter, we shall argue …

As we suggested above …

We can conclude …

CMS does not have a clear rule about authorial voice; however, the editors note in a brief Q&A:

“We” used to be more common in scholarly writing than it is now. The British use it more than Americans do. CMOS recommends using “I,” but if the literature in your field avoids this, you should follow suit. Either way, it’s fine to use “we” when referring to something that author and readers are implicitly doing together….

SBL Press style follows this recommendation. We advise authors to use the first-person singular pronoun when interjecting one’s own authorial voice.

In this chapter, I shall argue …

As I suggested above …

If including the reader in the action, the first-person plural pronoun is acceptable:

I conclude …

OR

We can conclude …

The first-person singular pronoun is also acceptable when an author refers to his or her own previous publication:

See my previous article …

In my 2005 volume, The Bible throughout History, I argued …

If, however, an author includes his or her previous work in a bibliographic citation without comment, the first-person singular pronoun is unnecessary. Use standard bibliographic format:

3. Name, Title (city: publisher, date), page number(s).

OR

(Last Name Year).

Migne’s Patrologia Latina: Update

In a previous post, we discussed incongruencies surrounding the original printing of Jacques-Paul Migne’s Patrologia Latina (1844–1855) and the reprints by Garnier (1865). Upon further research, we discovered that there are also variations between Migne’s original editions and his own later reprintings prior to transferring the rights to Garnier. We would therefore amend our guidelines for citing Migne’s Patrologia Latina as follows:

According to the Patrologia Latina Database (here), PL’s printing history can be divided into at least three different periods. Jacques-Paul Migne initially published the 217 volumes of PL over a twelve-year period, 1844–1855.* Migne reprinted volumes as needed for another decade (through 1865), then sold the rights to the Paris publisher Garnier. Some volumes of Migne’s pre-Garnier reprintings were produced from different plates than his original publications, which introduces significant discrepancies in column numbering. So, for example, PL 30:537 in the original 1846 publication corresponds to PL 30:554 in Migne’s 1865 reprinting. To complicate matters further, in February 1868 a fire destroyed Migne’s presses and printing plates, which meant that Garnier, which had begun reprinting some PL volumes in 1865, was the only source for future reprints—all of which were produced on plates other than Migne’s originals. These plates differed substantially in some cases and are considered in general “inferior in a number of respects to Migne’s own first editions.”

What does this mean for researchers today who need to cite PL? SBL Press recommends that authors always check a PL volume title page to ensure that the printing is dated 1855 or earlier. If the publication or printing date is 1857 or later, we encourage authors to find the original printing of PL to cite.

Our original post has been updated to match these new guidelines.

Beginning a Sentence with And or But

Like CMS §5.206, SBL Press acknowledges that it is acceptable to begin a sentence with a conjunction such as and or but. That being said, we recommend that authors use such constructions sparingly. While initial conjunctions can be effective, beginning too many sentences with simple conjunctions can lead to a disjointed composition and weaken the rhetorical force of an argument. Consider the following:

One is never quite sure whether to read Mark as a parody of the human hero apotheosized or as an apocalypse of the divine hero humiliated, not the only choices of course, but also not resolved by the writer’s penchant for obscurity, ambiguity, irony, and mystery. And so, if the Christ is David’s Lord, it is apparently not because of Jesus’s messianic office but because of the mystery of Jesus’s divinity (Mark 12:35–37). And if the Jesus of Mark’s Gospel clearly exhibits features of a Moses-and-Elijah-like figure, his status and authority are declared to exceed theirs at the baptism and on the mountain (Mark 1:11; 9:7). And yet, this overloading of attributes and roles, these declarations of authority and status exceeding prophets and kings of old, do nothing to relieve the fear, doubt, and uncertainty that is pervasive in the story world to the very end.

Here three sentences in a row begin with and, which can give the impression of a fragmented and incomplete argument. The flow of the paragraph can be strengthened by deleting the initial and or by replacing it with a stronger conjunction. For example:

One is never quite sure whether to read Mark as a parody of the human hero apotheosized or as an apocalypse of the divine hero humiliated, not the only choices of course, but also not resolved by the writer’s penchant for obscurity, ambiguity, irony, and mystery. If the Christ is David’s Lord, it is apparently not because of Jesus’s messianic office but because of the mystery of Jesus’s divinity (Mark 12:35–37). Moreover, if the Jesus of Mark’s Gospel clearly exhibits features of a Moses-and-Elijah-like figure, his status and authority are declared to exceed theirs at the baptism and on the mountain (Mark 1:11; 9:7). Yet this overloading of attributes and roles, these declarations of authority and status exceeding prophets and kings of old, do nothing to relieve the fear, doubt, and uncertainty that is pervasive in the story world to the very end.

Deleting and so in the second sentence tightens the paragraph. Changing and to the compound conjunction moreover in the third sentence more clearly signals the connection between the second and third sentences. Finally, using yet (without and) in the third sentence heightens the contrast between the last sentence and the preceding sentences. With a few simple changes, the connections between sentences become clearer and the argument as a whole flows more smoothly.

Work Cited

The example here has been modified from Miller (forthcoming) in order to illustrate the points discussed.

Miller, Merrill P. Forthcoming. “The Social Logic of the Gospel of Mark: Cultural Persistence and Social Escape in a Postwar Time.” In Redescribing the Gospel of Mark. Edited by Barry S. Crawford and Merrill P. Miller. ECL 22. Atlanta: SBL Press.

Migne’s Patrologia Latina

An alert blog reader recently noticed that a citation of PL found in one online resource did not match the references given in two leading commentaries on Romans (see further here). When the reader asked for our advice on how best to cite PL in these instances, it was time for us to learn more about why PL’s column numbering varies across printings.

According to the Patrologia Latina Database (here), PL’s printing history can be divided into at least three different periods. Jacques-Paul Migne initially published the 217 volumes of PL over a twelve-year period, 1844–1855.* Migne reprinted volumes as needed for another decade (through 1865), then sold the rights to the Paris publisher Garnier. Some volumes of Migne’s pre-Garnier reprintings were produced from different plates than his original publications, which introduces significant discrepancies in column numbering. So, for example, PL 30:537 in the original 1846 publication corresponds to PL 30:554 in Migne’s 1865 reprinting. To complicate matters further, in February 1868 a fire destroyed Migne’s presses and printing plates, which meant that Garnier, which had begun reprinting some PL volumes in 1865, was the only source for future reprints—all of which were produced on plates other than Migne’s originals. These plates differed substantially in some cases and are considered in general “inferior in a number of respects to Migne’s own first editions.”

What does this mean for researchers today who need to cite PL? SBL Press recommends that authors always check a PL volume title page to ensure that the printing is dated 1855 or earlier. If the publication or printing date is 1857 or later, we encourage authors to find the original printing of PL to cite.

Finding that earlier printing is not as difficult as one might imagine, since PL is freely available online in a number of locations. Google Books and Archive.org host scans of all 217 volumes of PL, both conveniently listed and linked at the patristica.net website (here) and Roger Pearse’s PL page (here). Another valuable resource is Documenta Catholica Omnia (here), which hosts multiple copies of PL and identifies the printing year for each copy linked.

So, for example, one easily discovers that Ambrose’s (Ambrosiaster’s) Commentaria in Episiolas B. Pauli begins on column 45 in Migne’s original 1845 printing (here, page 5 of the PDF) but on column 41 in Garnier’s 1879 printing (here, page 4 of the PDF).

Because Migne’s initial printings are both original and superior to later printings, SBL Press recommends that authors always cite PL from one of the 1844–1855 volumes. If for some reason it is necessary to cite a later printing, we suggest that the citation indicate the year printed after the volume:column citation:

6. See Ambrosiaster’s commentary on 1 Cor 2:15 in PL 17:207 (1879).

As a rule, however, readers will be best served by citations of Migne’s original printings.

* The dates of publication for the PL entries in SBLHS §§8.4.1–2 need to be corrected to read 1844–1855 instead of 1844–1864. The latter range includes reprint dates that were not part of the original printing of the 217 volumes.

Post updated 7 February 2017.

Jacoby and FGrHist

Felix Jacoby’s Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker is a multivolume collection of extracts and quotations of Greek historians whose complete works are known but not extant. Building on the work of Karl Wilhelm Ludwig Müller’s Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum (1841–1870, abbreviated FHG), Jacoby published the first volume in 1923 and continued with additional volumes until his death in 1959. At that time only the first three parts of the planned five parts had been completed (and part 3 lacked commentary on its authors). Parts 4 and 5 are now being completed by a team of editors.

The initial parts were published by Weidmann (Berlin), but since 1940 Brill has been the publisher; Brill is also completing the entire work under the title Brill’s New Jacoby (BNJ). Brill describes the project as follows:

Brill’s New Jacoby provides a revised edition of the Greek texts of Felix Jacoby’s Die Fragmente der Griechischen Historiker I–III where relevant. It includes several new authors and many fragments of existing authors that were either unknown to Jacoby or excluded by him. For the first time ever, commentaries are provided on the final 248 authors in FGrHist I–III, which Jacoby was unable to prepare before his death. Brill’s New Jacoby presents facing English translations of the Greek fragments, a new, critical commentary, and a brief encyclopedia-style entry about each historian’s life and works, with a select bibliography. Brill’s New Jacoby is currently still a work-in-progress with final publication of the last historian scheduled for 2017.

For additional background, see “Help with Fragments, part 3: Brill’s New Jacoby Online” on the Library of Antiquity blog here.

This post clarifies SBL Press style for citing Jacoby’s Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker. Most of these guidelines also apply to citations of BNJ.

1. Contra SBLHS §§8.4.1 and 8.4.2, we recommend using the abbreviation FGrHist (not FGH) for this multivolume work, since FGrHist follows Jacoby’s own practice and is less likely to be confused with Müller’s FHG.

2. Jacoby assigned each of the 856 historians in FGrHist a unique number, which forms the primary basis for citations of the work. The historians and their numbers in Jacoby’s system are conveniently listed here.

3. Jacoby also numbered the testimonia (statements about the historian) and fragments (citations and quotations of a historian’s writing) for each author. The letter T precedes the number of each testimonium; an F precedes the number of each fragment.

Instead of citing FGrHist by part (or volume) and page number, the three elements just identified are used for a full citation of a testimonium or fragment for a given historian. Specifically, citations to texts should include the abbreviation FGrHist + the author number + F/T + the fragment/testimonium number. Each element is separated by a space but no punctuation. For example, a proper citation of fragment 3a for Pausanias of Antioch (author 854 in FGrHist) is:

FGrHist 854 F 3a

Citation of the single testimonium for Pausanias is:

FGrHist 854 T 1

Contra FGrHist, SBL Press uses a single T or F even when citing multiple testimonia or fragments.

FGrHist 1 F 38–103 [i.e., all of the fragments of Hekataios of Miletos preserved by Stephanos of Byzantion]

Finally, one may identify a historian using the FGrHist number even if no testimonia or fragments are cited.

FGrHist 235 [i.e., Marcus Tullius Cicero]

For further background on FGrHist, see John Marincola’s review of the index volumes in BMCR here.