William Thorne

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William Thorne was an Oxford scholar and clergyman, reputed in his own time for his knowledge of Semitic languages. He was Regius Professor of Hebrew at Oxford, dean of Chichester, and chaplain to King James I. He may also have been a translator for the Authorized (King James) Version of the Bible. Today he is remembered for one book, a volume of rhetorical theory titled Ducente Deo. Willelmi Thorni Tullius, seu Re in tria stromata divisus (With the Guidance of God, William Thorne's Cicero, or The Rhetor Divided into Three Stromata, 1592). It is an anthology of ordered quotations from the rhetorical works of Cicero, widely referenced to other writings, notably Greek philosophical works. Thorne's view of rhetoric was conservative for his time, opposing the contemporary trend of preferring Seneca and Tacitus to Cicero, but he was forward-looking in seeking to incorporate Hellenistic rhetoricians with the Roman tradition. He associated himself with Ramism, the system of dialectical and rhetorical reform promoted by Pierre de La Ramée (known in Latin as Petrus Ramus) in the sixteenth century, but in fact was much more an Aristotelian.

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