Figure Name paradiegesis
Source Silva Rhetoricae (; Peacham (1593); Bullinger (1898) ("paradiegesis; or a bye-leading"); Anonymus Seguerianus (1997)
Earliest Source None
Synonyms a bye-leading
Etymology from Gk. paradiegeomai "to relate by the way;" (para), beside, (dia), through, or by means of (heegeisthai ), to lead, or guide .
Type Rhetorical Strategy
Linguistic Domain

Rhetfig: A narration that contains facts that do not relate directly to the line of reasoning, but indirectly enhances reasoning. Anonymus Seguerianus named the narration occurs during the presentation of the main line of reasoning paradiegesis, a narration before the main line of reasoning to be prodiegesis, a narration that occurs after the main argument to be epidiegesis.

1. An introductory narrative (often a digression) used to open a speech //(Silva Rhetoricae)//

2. Addition of outside facts by way of reasoning //(Bullfinch)//

3. Paradiegesis is called in Latine Narratio quae sit obiter atque in transitu, and properly in Rhetoricke it is called a form of speech by which the Orator telleth or maketh mention of someting that it may be a fit occasion or introduction to declare his further meaning, or principall purpose, which is a speciall and artificiall forme of insinuation. //(Peacham)//

4. Addition of Outside Facts by way of Reasoning... Hence the figure is used when there is an addition of facts which are beside the case, yet help to establish it. //(Bullinger, 492)//

5. The narration of other facts with the main fact //(Anonymus Seguerianus)//


3. A verie apt example we have in the 17. of the Acts, of Paul who tooke an occasion by the Aultar which he saw in Athens as he passed by, both to reprove the idolatry of the Athenians, and also to teach them the true worship of the living God. The Evangelist Luke doththus record it: Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars street, & said: Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious, for as I passed by, I found an aultar wherein is written unto the unknowne GOD, whom ye then ignorantly worship, him shew I unto you, God that made the worlde, and all things that are therin, seeing he is Lord of heaven & earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands, neither is worshipped with mens hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life and breath and all things, and so consequently, he proceedeth to the full declaration of his purpose. (Peacham)

Kind Of Addition
Part Of
Related Figures exemplum, paradigma, digression, figures of moderation, prodiegesis, epidiegesis
Notes "The figure is used when there is an addition of facts which are beside the case, yet help to establish it." (Bullfinch)
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Marie-Agnes Pilon
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes There is apparently a difference of opinion about whether the figure is introductory or just digressive; also about whether narrative, or just ancillary facts, are required.
Reviewed No