Recovering A Lost Tool of Rhetoric Stasis Theory’s Essential Role in Rhetoric (Part I)

Andrew Selby discusses the history of stasis theory and how to teach it in modern classrooms.
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If you teach rhetoric, you should teach stasis theory. In the classical tradition, teachers recognized that any fruitful disagreement begins by identifying the true controversy at hand. e ancient Athenian could end up dead or property-less if he misidentified the controversy in court or found himself unprepared for his opponent’s argument. To address these high stakes, ancient rhetoricians developed stasis theory, which lives within invention, the skill of applying fitting arguments to a relevant controversy. In this session, we will journey through the beginnings and development of stasis theory, learning what it is and how ancient students practiced it. Finally, we will practice together using contemporary controversies.

Andrew Selby

Andrew has a passion for classical Christian education and wants to help teachers, administrators and parents catch a vision for a tradition-resourced approach to helping our boys and girls grow to be mature men and women of God. He serves as Dean of Classical Instruction at Trinity Classical Academy, where he also teaches medieval history, Bible, Latin and rhetoric classes. He has published articles about Church history, biblical interpretation, spiritual formation and systematic theology. He has a doctorate in religion focusing on early Christian theology from Baylor University, a master’s in theology from the University of Toronto and a bachelor’s degree from Biola University, where he studied at the Torrey Honors Institute.