Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2013


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Communication and Rhetorical Studies


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Pat Arneson

Committee Member

Richard Thames

Committee Member

Janie Harden Fritz


Education, John of Salisbury, Medieval, Rhetoric, The Metalogicon


This dissertation addresses the following question: what are the implications of John of Salisbury's rhetorical theory for his approach to education? The Metalogicon, John's defense of the trivium, represents the primary text analyzed throughout the project. John's medieval rhetorical theory explicated the reciprocal relationship between rhetoric and education. The art of rhetoric acquired educational elements by providing ethical-theoretical frameworks to inform the practices of students and teachers. Experiences from the practices of students and teachers influenced the art of rhetoric. John called for an approach to medieval rhetorical education that could be placed into the service of all people living in God's world. Five chapters offer answers to the guiding question.

Chapter One, "John of Salisbury: A Rhetorician of the Middle Ages," situates John within the historical moment of the High Middle Ages in Western Europe. John's personal experiences and the overall significant historical events shaped his perspective about medieval rhetorical education. Chapter Two, "John of Salisbury's Intellectual Influences: Cicero and Aristotle," explores how the writings of Cicero and Aristotle informed John's assumptions about the relationship between Ciceronian rhetoric and Aristotelian dialectics within medieval rhetorical education. John attempted to place the newly translated Latin writings of Aristotle, The Organon, into the service of medieval rhetorical education.

Chapter Three, "John of Salisbury's The Metalogicon: An Artifact of Medieval Epideictic Rhetoric," examines The Metalogicon as a composition representing medieval epideictic rhetoric. John offered an account of his educational experiences in which he praised teachers who promoted the liberal arts, blamed teachers who rejected the liberal arts, and celebrated the timeless values of a philosophical approach to education. Chapter Four, "The Metalogicon as Rhetorical Dialectical Synthesis," articulates John's contribution to medieval rhetorical theory. John synthesized Ciceronian rhetoric with Aristotelian dialectics to expand the scope of rhetorical practices. Chapter Five, "The Metalogicon: A Medieval Response to Contemporary Calls for Educational Praxis," concludes the dissertation by announcing John's call for praxis as the telos of medieval rhetorical education. The Metalogicon offered implications to the communication discipline by addressing John's contribution to medieval rhetorical theory and articulating pedagogical practices beneficial to contemporary educators.