Renaissance and Reformation Dialogue
David Marsh
  • LAST REVIEWED: 14 May 2019
  • LAST MODIFIED: 15 January 2020
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195399301-0134


By dramatically representing its cultural context, the dialogue has provided a timely and lively portrait of philosophical debate from Antiquity to the present. Its rebirth in the Renaissance is central to the revival of classical culture and of the rise of modern thought.

Introductory Works

For a brief survey on the genre of dialogue, see Marsh 2010. The classic studies are Hirzel 1963 and Andrieu 1954, while Hempfer and Traninger 2008 provides up-to-date studies of the genre across the centuries. For theoretical analysis of the genre with a brief survey of its history, see Guelloz 1992. The periodical Dialogue offers focused essays on various topics.

  • Andrieu, Jean. La dialogue antique: Structure et présentation. Paris: Belles Lettres, 1954.

    While largely concerned with the form and presentation of dialogue in ancient drama, the study includes three chapters on the philosophical dialogues of Antiquity from Plato to Macrobius.

  • Dialogue. 1962–.

    A journal published by the Canadian Philosophical Association (Montreal) since 1962.

  • Guelloz, Suzanne. Le dialogue. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1992.

    Theory of the Western genre with a short history.

  • Hempfer, Klaus W., and Anita Traninger, eds. Der Dialog im Diskursfeld seiner Zeit–von der Antike bis zur Aufklärung. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2008.

    A series of essays on literary dialogue in the “performative” context of discourse in various periods from Antiquity to the Enlightenment.

  • Hirzel, Rudolf. Der Dialog: Ein literar-historischer Versuch. 2 vols. Reprint. Hildesheim, Germany: Georg Olms, 1963.

    The classic account of the dialogue from Antiquity to the 18th century. First printed in 1895.

  • Marsh, David. “Dialogue.” In The Classical Tradition. Edited by A. Grafton, G. Most, and S. Settis, 266–267. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010.

    A concise survey of the classical tradition of the dialogue from Antiquity to the present.

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