"Sophrosyne And The Rhetoric Of Self Restraint" by Adriaan Rademaker. A Tiny Review

Sophrosyne And The Rhetoric Of Self Restraint: Polysemy and Persuasive Use of an Ancient Greek Value TermSophrosyne And The Rhetoric Of Self Restraint: Polysemy and Persuasive Use of an Ancient Greek Value Term by Adriaan Rademaker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In this 375 page manual, Rademaker digs deep into some major classic Greek works such as Homer, Aeschylus, and Plato to see how sophron and sophrosyne, and their cognates, were understood and used. This long and labor-intensive study found that the words were polysemous – they had a variety of meanings and implications. The areas of definition were slightly different based on the object’s class, age and sex. For girls and women, it normally indicated quietness and seemliness, even marital fidelity. For young men and boys, again the notion was quietness, along with order and decentness. For slaves, order and obedience. For the polis, there should be good order and sound judgment. Finally, adult men carry the weight by exhibiting respect for the gods, lack of violence, not being unjust, quietness, moderate and measured, sane and prudent. In the end, Rademaker compiled the multifaceted definitions and inferences into a broad swath of general categories that fall under good sense. The good sense to avoid harming oneself or others; and the good sense to avoid indecency and disorder. At the end of the day, the sophroneo words carry the thought of prudence, decency, quietness and soberness in a way that relates to control of desires.

I read this scholarly volume as research for my own book on the way the New Testament uses sophroneo and it's fellow-words. I found it very helpful, and useful in giving some serious historical and linguistic background to an important word-set. I highly recommend the book.

If you're interested in obtaining the book you can find it here: https://brill.com/view/title/11844?lang=en

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