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Introduction to Classical Legal Rhetoric: A Lost Heritage (Applied Legal Philosophy) [Hardcover]

Michael Frost
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

28 May 2005 0754624137 978-0754624134
Lawyers, law students and their teachers all too frequently overlook the most comprehensive, adaptable and practical analysis of legal discourse ever devised: the classical art of rhetoric. Classical analysis of legal reasoning, methods and strategy is the foundation and source for most modern theories on the topic. Beginning with Aristotle's Rhetoric and culminating with Cicero's De Oratore and Quintilian's Institutio Oratoria, Greek and Roman rhetoricians created a clear, experience-based theoretical framework for analyzing legal discourse. This book is the first to systematically examine the connections between classical rhetoric and modern legal discourse. It traces the history of legal rhetoric from the classical period to the present day and shows how modern theorists have unknowingly benefited from the classical works. It also applies classical rhetorical principles to modern appellate briefs and judicial opinions to demonstrate how a greater familiarity with the classical sources can deepen our understanding of legal reasoning.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 190 pages
  • Publisher: Avebury Technical (28 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0754624137
  • ISBN-13: 978-0754624134
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,260,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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About the Author

Michael H. Frost is Professor at the Southwestern University School of Law, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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In 400 B.C. if an ordinary Greek citizen of the educated class had a legal dispute with another citizen, he usually appeared and argued his own case before other Greek citizens and did so without the advice or help of a lawyer. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Look at an Old Discipline 3 July 2007
Format:Hardcover
Over 2,000 years ago the Greeks and Romans worked out pragmatic principles of advocacy which are as applicable to the modern courtroom as they were to the Areopagus or the Forum. Prof. Frost has done superb job of demonstrating this in his excellent work. Quintilian wrote that a lawyer's presentation should be lucid, brief, and worthy of belief. Prof. Frost's work achieves all three of these qualities. The practicing attorney would do well to read this book, and then delve into some of the Classical works it cites. Cicero's "De Inventione" or the anonymous "Rhetorica ad Herennium" would be good places to start.

Two minor criticisms of the book: 1. Prof. Frost cites to the Classical works using standard legal citation style. It would have been more helpful if he had used the citation style of Classicists and historians, citing to the book, chapter, and verse of the ancient authors. 2. He spends more time on the written aspects of advocacy than he does on the oral. Classical rhetoric was nothing if it was not an oral discipline. There is a need for another book applying the Classical rhetorical principles to the trial court rather than the appellate court.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile discussion of how classical rhetoric can contribute to legal advocacy 6 Dec 2010
By E. Jaksetic - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The author, a law professor, argues that modern lawyers and judges have generally failed to look at classical rhetoric to gain valuable insights and practical pointers on advocacy that could be applied in the practice of law today. The author compares and contrasts classical rhetoric with modern legal rhetoric and modern legal argumentation, using numerous examples, to support his thesis.

Chapter 1 reviews the history of classical rhetoric from its origins in ancient Greece and Rome to the 20th century, noting the frequent connection between classical rhetoric and legal advocacy throughout history. Chapter 2 looks at legal analysis from the perspective of the classical rhetoric's concepts of "topics" and "stasis theory." Chapter 3 compares the organization of modern legal arguments to principles of organization espoused by classical rhetoricians. Chapter 4 discusses the significance of "ethos" (speaker's credibility) and "pathos" (use of emotion in argument) in classical rhetoric and points out how those concepts are applicable to modern legal advocacy. Chapter 5 compares and contrasts the views of classical rhetoricians on figurative and metaphorical reasoning with the views of modern lawyers on such reasoning. Chapter 6 looks at several rhetorical devices used by classical rhetoricians to provide a style that supports their forensic arguments, and suggests modern lawyers could improve their advocacy by studying the use of such rhetorical devices by classical rhetoricians. Chapter 7 briefly considers the limits of judicial dissenting opinions, and uses the perspective of classical rhetoric to analyze and critique the dissent of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515 (1996).

This is a scholarly book that requires concentrated, not casual, reading. Some prior knowledge of legal analysis and reasoning, or classical rhetoric, would be advisable before reading this book. Anyone interested in legal advocacy, legal argumentation, legal rhetoric, or classical rhetoric should take a look at this book.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Look at an Old Discipline 1 Jun 2007
By George R Dekle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Over 2,000 years ago the Greeks and Romans worked out pragmatic principles of advocacy which are as applicable to the modern courtroom as they were to the Areopagus or the Forum. Prof. Frost has done superb job of demonstrating this in his excellent work. Quintilian wrote that a lawyer's presentation should be lucid, brief, and worthy of belief. Prof. Frost's work achieves all three of these qualities. The practicing attorney would do well to read this book, and then delve into some of the Classical works it cites. Cicero's "De Inventione" or the anonymous "Rhetorica ad Herennium" would be good places to start.

Two minor criticisms of the book: 1. Prof. Frost cites to the Classical works using standard legal citation style. It would have been more helpful if he had used the citation style of Classicists and historians, citing to the book, chapter, and verse of the ancient authors. 2. He spends more time on the written aspects of advocacy than he does on the oral. Classical rhetoric was nothing if it was not an oral discipline. There is a need for another book applying the Classical rhetorical principles to the trial court rather than the appellate court.
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