Epicrisis


Epicrisis (e-pi-cri’-sis): When a speaker quotes a certain passage and makes comment upon it.

Related figures: anamenesis–calling to memory past matters. More specifically, citing a past author from memory–and chreia (from the Greek chreiodes, “useful”) . . . “a brief reminiscence referring to some person in a pithy form for the purpose of edification.” It takes the form of an anecdote that reports either a saying, an edifying action, or both.

At Gettysburg, it was Abraham Lincoln’s earnest hope that “this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”  This hope is alive today–especially as we wind our way, as a nation, toward the upcoming presidential elections. As candidates vie for our attention and for our votes, we should ask at the close of every one of their speeches: “What would Abraham Lincoln say about their resolve–their desire–to listen to the people’s voice?” For every election is underwritten by our deep faith in the people’s voice–in the collective good will and dignity of the people, and the desire of the people, as far as they are people, for liberty and justice and peace and prosperity–the soul of the Republic and the substance of our humanity.

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Definitions courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

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