Eloquence and Wisdom

“It is a well known fact that ‘Eloquence without wisdom is futile.'(citing Cicero, Orator 4. 14) Whence it is clear that eloquence derives its efficacy from wisdom.  The utility of eloquence is, in fact, directly in proportion to the measure of wisdom a person may have attained.  On the other hand, eloquence becomes positively harmful when it departs from wisdom.  It is accordingly evident that dialectic, the highly efficient and ever-ready servant of eloquence, is useful to anyone in proportion to the degree of knowledge he possesses.”  John of Salisbury, Metalogicon, Bk II, Chap. 9. trans. Daniel D. McGarry (Berkeley 1955), p. 93.

 

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