Pre-modern Seminar nr. 49: Donato De Gianni
On Thursday May 17th the Dr Donato De Gianni will give a talk called:
“Biblical Paraphase in Late Antiquity”
The seminar will take place in Jakobi 2-114 at 17.00 (note the time!).
Donato De Gianni has sent us a short presentation of his lecture:
“A characteristic of much Christian poetry of Late Antiquity is the paraphrasing of the Bible, a skill the poets would have learnt in rhetoric lessons, enabling them to rephrase the text in a new form, abbreviating or expanding it at will. The manner in which each poet reworks the scriptural hypotext, for example, in his adaptation of the order of events, can help the reader to understand the poet’s aims. My paper proposes a comparative analysis of the hexametrical rewritings of the evangelical account of Jesus cursing the fig tree (Matthew 21:18-22; Mark 11:12-14. 20-25) by Juvencus (4th century), Sedulius (5th century), Avitus of Vienne (5th-6th century) and Severus of Malaga (?) (6th century). The comparison between the four pieces allows us to evaluate the different narrative strategies adopted by these authors, as well as the paraphrastic techinques and their “consonances” with previous classical poetry. The gap between the literal paraphrase by Juvencus, who rewrote the biblical text with few changes, and the work by Severus of Malaga (?), who was attentive to the exegetical and theological implications present in the hypotext, suggests reflections on the evolution of the literary genre of the poetic rewriting of the Bible. The different approaches to the biblical text by these authors reflect their cultural backgrounds and the instances of their audience. If the purpose of Juvencus is to spread the Gospel in an acceptable poetic form, then the succeeding poets are motivated by exegetical intents, understandable in light of the theological and doctrinal debate, which is progressively growing in the Latin West.”
Everybody is welcome!