Aristotle, Rhetoric, 1.1:

ἡ ῥητορική ἐστιν ἀντίστροφος τῇ διαλεκτικῇ: ἀμφότεραι γὰρ περὶ τοιούτων τινῶν εἰσιν ἃ κοινὰ τρόπον τινὰ ἁπάντων ἐστὶ γνωρίζειν καὶ οὐδεμιᾶς ἐπιστήμης ἀφωρισμένης

I translate it thus:

The rhetorical [art] is antistrophic to the dialectical [art]
ἡ ῥητορική ἐστιν ἀντίστροφος τῇ διαλεκτικῇ

for both concern such things that are common in a certain manner to everyone
ἀμφότεραι γὰρ περὶ τοιούτων τινῶν εἰσιν ἃ κοινὰ τρόπον τινὰ ἁπάντων

My question concerns the phrase:

ἐστὶ γνωρίζειν καὶ οὐδεμιᾶς ἐπιστήμης ἀφωρισμένης

Here is what (I think) I know:

οὐδεμιᾶς, ἐπιστήμης, and ἀφωρισμένης all share the same declension (i.e., feminine, genitive, singular).

According to LSJ on the verb εἰμί (re: ἐστὶ),

ἔστι impers., c. inf., it is possible...


Edit (11/14/2018@5:48 PM): I have revised my translation, as follows:

The rhetorical [art] is antistrophic to the dialectical [art], for both concern such things which are common, in a certain manner, of all people and are possible to know, not being limited to scientific knowledge.

Please critique for me please. I am attempting to keep it as close to the Greek as possible while still possessing sense.

up vote 6 down vote accepted

ἐστὶ γνωρίζειν goes with the previous bit:

περὶ τοιούτων τινῶν εἰσιν ἃ κοινὰ τρόπον τινὰ ἁπάντων ἐστὶ γνωρίζειν

"they are about such things as it is possible to become acquainted with [as being] in a certain manner common to all"

Then οὐδεμιᾶς ἐπιστήμης ἀφωρισμένης may be a genitive absolute: "with no system of knowledge being distinct / specifically dedicated [to them]". Or perhaps better, as brianpck suggests in comments, it can be taken as parallel to ἁπάντων, "common to all and not to any distinct system of knowledge".

  • 1
    I appreciate the help; I needed it on that one. :O – Der Übermensch Nov 14 at 18:35
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    I (and some translations I looked up) read the final genitive as one of possession, contrasting with ἁπάντων, roughly: "They are about such things whose knowledge is common to all and not belonging to one specific discipline." – brianpck Nov 14 at 20:34
  • I would also comment on 'antistrophic', that it would merit a better translation. Presumably what is meant is something along the lines that the two are complementary, or two sides of the same coin. – Tasos Papastylianou Nov 14 at 21:12
  • @TasosPapastylianou—I think it loses meaning when not translated as such; it is, after all, a valid English adjective. Moreover, I think Aristotle was thinking of the musical στροφή/ἀντιστροφή. If I were to read a translation with “complimentary” (for example), I would not have any idea that Aristotle had those in mind. – Der Übermensch Nov 14 at 21:28
  • @brianpck, thanks, good point -- editing accordingly. – TKR Nov 14 at 21:31

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