I think we are addressing different things.Paul the Uncertain wrote:"They say..." could scarcely be less clear, and unclarity is projection's playground.There is no "pure projection" in the clear literary devices Iamblichus uses, surely. They are as clear as the words on the page. "They say..." is a clear expression of a certain position between a narrator, the content of his message and his audience.
Yes, "they say" is in content vague. Granted, but my point was something else -- the relationship between narrator, message and audience. -- I could do one of those diagrams of boxes and arrows.
My point is the narrator is telling his readers that his information is coming from some source. It makes no difference to the point whether the source he refers to is some internationally recognized authority, records engraved in stone tablets or some vague rumour he has heard.
That is, the narrator is presented as one who is appealing to some source for verification of his message. It may not be very good verification, it might in fact be very bad verification, but from the narrator's and readers' perspectives there is a recognized appeal to having obtained the narrative itself from some source that is in fact an appeal to accepting the "reality" of what is being written.
I am not addressing the historicity itself of the particular content; or the veracity let alone reliability of the source. What we have is an appeal to "historicity" or "reality" of what is being said. "This is not fiction," is the message.
Now authors of novels, fiction, sometimes use the very same rhetoric for the sake of verisimilitude, even outright deception. That they do confirms that such rhetorical devices are indeed recognized as appeals to "historicity/truth, etc". (Other devices are further used by the authors of fiction -- unless the authors are deliberately trying to deceive the public by writing outright forgery.)
My difficulty was seeing how this point relates to my own argument. As above, we are perhaps addressing different points.I was as clear as I could be that there are many possible reasons why authors might deny making up their stories. Other authors wouldn't bother to deny that; not necessarily because those authors did make up their stories.
Ah, okay, apologies for misunderstanding you, then. -- So what I just wrote above is addressing something you did understand about my point.I was trying to say that the author is making it evident to readers that the subject matter is derived from sources "out there".
I got that. I don't accept that you would know, of all the seriously possible interpretations of that behavior, that the right one is "making it evident to readers that the subject matter is derived from sources 'out there.'"
In that case, if I understand you correctly, what concerns you is how we know if the content is true or not, verifiable history or fabrication etc.
That is a different question.
What I was addressing is one detail related to how authors go about writing "history" as distinct from writing "fiction", and how that detail enables readers to recognize the different enterprises.
Challenging details of whether or not a particular reference is in fact "true" is a secondary exercise. The point at this stage is that the narrator and reader are, by means of the rhetorical clues, acknowledging that they are engaged with claim said to be "historical" or "true".
He is not writing or creating a story from his imagination but is relating the fruits of his inquiries into the "factual details" (or what to him he believes are the factual details, sifted from chaff, etc). His turns of phrase tell the reader that he is speaking as one who has investigated or learned about his topic from sources and is not writing a novella or fictional biography.Do the readers think that Iamblichus and Pythagoras were contemporaries? That Iamblichus is the first person ever to write about Pythagoras or his followers? Assuming no to both, then what uncertainty is Iamblichus resolving by saying there are sources for what he writes? Of course there are earlier versions - even if he's repackaging outright fiction.
Pliny saying he heard stories is the point I have been saying is central to Iamblichus's narrative.Pliny being "exactly the same" as Iamblichus isn't what's in evidence. Pliny says he heard about two stories, the third is within his lived experience. There is no way he can be credited with "doing research" based on what he said.
That is my point. Both are appealing to "the truth" of what they are about to relate on the basis of that "independent source".
There are more qualitative ways of referencing sources, but my point is the technique itself, however well or badly done with respect to assuring us of the reliability of the verification, is the difference between the "rhetoric of fiction and rhetoric of history".Conversely, it is possible that Pliny is simply framing a "build of three" to make a climax of his own lived experience story. "One of these is not like the others" is a fine narrative device, useful for both history and fiction, but it's unavailable to Iamblichus.