Available Online l Isocrates’ Theory of Goodwill (Eunoia) as a Precursor of Emotional Intelligence by Maria Xanthou

The Center For Hellenic Studies is pleased to announce the online publication of spring fellow Maria Xanthou’s paper, “Isocrates’ Theory of Goodwill (Eunoia) as a Precursor of Emotional Intelligence,” which was presented at the 2015 Fellows Research Symposium. See the abstract below. To read the full article, visit the Center for Hellenic Studies Research Bulletin.


Εunoia is one of Isocrates’ core paideutic concepts. I aim to show that if Isocratean philosophical and rhetorical pedagogy is meaningfully modified and combined with eunoia into a nuanced system of emotional intelligence (EI), applicable to internal and international politics and public relations, then eunoia emerges as a versatile, multifarious and interactive emotion and concept. In that sense, it comprises a special emotional configuration, resulting from the cognitive appraisal of feelings as subjective experiences of emotional state, bodily symptoms, facial and vocal expressions and action tendencies. De Pace and Antidosis present us with two different uses of eunoia-theory at a macro- and micro-level. In De Pace Isocrates applies the theory of eunoia to interstate relations and contextualizes it within the causality of fifth and fourth c. BCE events. In Antidosis, he applies the same theory to the relation between an individual and the Athenians as a collective body in the form of an audience, either legislators or jurors.

Maria G. Xanthou (PhD Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) has taught Classical Languages, Literature and Thought and ICT in teaching classical languages at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki since 2001. She is Adjunct Lecturer at the Open University of Cyprus since 2012 and a research collaborator of the Centre for Greek Language (Thessaloniki). Her research interests include Greek lyric poetry, both monodic and choral (Stesichorus, Pindar and Bacchylides), Aristophanic and Attic comedy (5th c. B.C.E.), Attic rhetoric (Isocrates), history of classical scholarship (German classical scholarship of the 19th c.), textual criticism, literary theory, rhetoric, ancient theory of rhetoric (definition and use of asyndeton), e-learning, ICT use for teaching classical languages and integration of ICT methodologies in the curriculum. While at CHS, she will pursue further research on the social and cultural construction of fear (φόβος), awe (δέος) and anger (ὀργή) as emotions in the fifth and fourth century BCE political scene in Attica, Greek mainland and the islands, and the formation of good will (εὔνοια) as a response towards these emotions and its significance in the development of Isocrates’s emotional intelligence theory.

Image credit: Herma of Isocrates, 2008, Wikimedia Commons.