Rediscovering Rhetoric: Law, language, and the practice of persuasion
1 Jan 2008
Justin T. Gleeson
Rhetoric is ubiquitous in modern discourse: from arguments delivered in the High Court, to advertisements disseminated in the high street. For the legal and political advocate, persuasion is also a professional technique that must be perfected properly to practise each art. In contrast with the classical era and the middle ages, in which grammar, rhetoric and dialectic were basic features of all education, modern curricula almost entirely neglect any theoretical study of the methods of rhetoric. Rediscovering Rhetoric re-introduces to modern practitioners and students a grasp of the speeches, writings and methodologies of the great classical scholars of rhetoric. Part 1 - Law and Language in the Greco-Roman Tradition provides a contextualised introduction to significant theorists of rhetoric in the classical period, and consists of four chapters written by practising barristers and a current Justice of the Federal Court of Australia. Part 2 - The Practice of Persuasion comprises essays by practitioners distinguished in their pursuit of legal persuasion - one former and two current Justices of the High Court of Australia - illuminating their experiences of argument from the perspective of both bench and bar. Part 3 - The Politics of Persuasion performs a similar function to Part 2, in the related domain of politics. It includes a chapter by Graham Freudenberg, former speechwriter for Gough Whitlam and others. Together the three parts provide a unique inter-disciplinary perspective on the theory and practice of legal and political persuasion. Published in association with the NSW Bar Association.