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Preacher and Audience : Studies in Early Christian and Byzantine Homiletics
Pages: — By: Karl-Heinz Uthemann. By: Jan H. By: Pauline Allen. Joseph Munitiz. By: Andrew Louth. By: Niki Tsironis. By: Theodora Antonopoulou. Biographical Note Mary B. Cunningham , Ph. She has published papers on Byzantine preaching, edited homiletic and hagiographical texts and is currently working on a book on Andrew of Crete.
Above all virtues, George praises Anna's humility which was received by God as the 'sweetest scent and offering'. The aim of Christian virtues, as expressed by the author, is the knowledge of God and the eventual deification of humanity, a notion that is denoted by the repeated references to its regeneration or renewal.
Finally, the homily on the Presentation of the Virgin to the Temple becomes an opportunity for George to refer to the way that Joachim and Anna offered back to God what is his, recalling the spirit and the words of the Divine Liturgy. In his article about homiletic trilogies, Chevalier refers to groups of homilies that were preached on the same day or night, in the same church and for the same congregation. His argumentation for establishing the continuity of the homilies is based on the internal evidence of the text, and I would only like to add to these two groups a third incomplete set of homilies which I believe were delivered on two subsequent days of Holy Week: Good Friday and Holy Saturday.
In the first homily, entitled Oration on the "there stood by the Cross of Jesus his mother and his mother's sister" and in the bodily burial of our Lord Jesus Christ on Holy and Good Friday', 38 George of Nicomedia after his introduction attempts to give an explanation of the discord in the accounts of the Crucifixion given by the 'divine evangelists'. In the second homily, Oration on the standing by the Holy Sepulchre of the Mother of God and thanksgiving for the glorious Resurrection', the homilist attempts in an identical way to explain the reason why the presence of the Mother of God at the Holy Sepulchre is not recorded in any of the synoptic Gospels.
The second homily is much shorter than the first and it forms a natural continuation of the events narrated in the first, which concludes with the deposition and burial of the Lord. Furthermore, the epilogue of the homily on Good Friday predisposes the audience for the subject of the homily on Holy Saturday. It reads: Indeed, I glorify her as the only participant who saw your saving suffering; as the herald of the benefit and the evangelist of immortality and the cause of your glorification. But as you were the first that saw him and brought the good news, Lady, in the same way may you reveal in our hearts his spiritual joy.
The homilist leads his congregation patiently from the events of Thursday in Holy Week to Saturday and to the Resurrection of the Lord. Hence, the length of the homily on Good Friday, thirty columns of the Patrologia Graeca, could be explained in terms of the liturgical context in which the sermon was delivered.
If we accept that the homily on Good Friday was read during the vigil of Friday, we could explain the repetitions that occur in the text and especially the three laments of the Mother of God that divide the homily into three parts: the way to Cavalry, crucifixion, deposition and burial.edmatina.tk
Preacher and Audience – Studies in Early Christian and Byzantine Homiletics | brill
The laments form a refrain which encapsulate the elements that we find in all the subsequent hymns on the subject and which were officially incorporated into the readings of the church in the following centuries. These refrains can be well understood within the context of an all-night vigil. It expresses the spirit of the 'internal resurrection' and the conquest of the Lord over death.
The content and the tone of the text announce the Resurrection that is imminent, but for a great part dwell on the spirit of the previous day. Judging from the events narrated it could not possibly have been delivered on Easter Sunday at dawn. The homily missing in the trilogy is precisely the one that was delivered on Easter Sunday, and this last one either remains unedited in some manuscript or is lost for ever. Photios's corpus also provides examples of homilies that were delivered on consecutive days. Examples include the two homilies on Lent and another two homilies on the first ecumenical Council of Nicaea.
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According to their editor, the homilies on Lent must have been delivered during the first week of Lent. In the epilogue of the first homily the preacher says that if his audience behaves in this i. In the introduction of the second homily he refers to his outstanding debt, that is, to the promise that he has to keep.
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In his homilies on Nicaea I, the continuity is implied in the introductory lines of the respective homilies. Photios starts his first homily with the words: 'At the end of the last homily, if you remember The second homily on the same subject takes up the narrative from the end of the previous one: 'The defenders of the church, as we have already said The nature of the collection of the homilies is such that it does not allow us to be sure whether other homilies in the same series existed. However, the schema that Chevalier has suggested should be left open in order to encompass either sets of two homilies, or series of homilies on a particular subject determined either by the occasion, such as Lent, or by the preacher, such as the sermons on Arius and the First Ecumenical Council.
Patriarch Photios and George of Nicomedia wrote their homilies in an elevated literary style employing all the means provided by classical rhetoric as taught in Byzantium and employed by the predecessors of the genre. The language of Photios is far more elaborate than George's, at least as far as his vocabulary is concerned. A detailed comparison of the literary style of both authors falls outside the scope of the present paper. They share the qualities that reveal their classical education and linguistic expertise.
Both preachers extensively employ rhetorical tropes and figures for the composition of their homilies, but their common use of rhetoric does not produce the same effect. The personal style of each author remains distinct, a fact that should be considered as a result of the content and the directness with which they do, or do not, approach their audience. The complicated style of the marian homilies of George is in accordance with the panegyrical character of the texts. These last four devices could be said to form the basis of George's homilies, expressing at the same time the essential paradox of orthodox dogma and his great predilection for rhetoric.
He says that the evangelists did not record her presence because they spoke only about the Marys who left the tomb and then returned to the sepulchre, and found it unnecessary to refer to the one that was already there. In the homily on Good Friday, when referring to the pain of the Mother of God as she watched the body of Christ hanging from the cross, George asks: 'Whose heart would not become softer than wax even if it were harder than stone on beholding the frightful sight?
Thus we could imagine that the exclamations play the role of the words of the chorus in ancient Greek tragedy. They represent the common feeling that is pronounced by the preacher. At the same time, during the exclamations, the preacher sets aside his position of authority, sharing and voicing the common feeling of his congregation. Thus in the homily on Good Friday we read: 'Hence, was there any disagreement, among the heralds of truth? Not at all'. Who will recount in words her pains that are beyond words? How did she hold out to see the all-good son and Lord being arrested by wicked creatures?
Whom was she following abducted? Whom was she awaiting then? Examining the homilies, we see that the conventional elements of the genre function as landmarks which serve as a guideline to the homilist in the composition of his work, while for the audience they represent recognisable forms which aid their understanding. Rhetorical commonplaces are one of these recognisable elements. Scholarly research has focused on anti-Jewish polemic as the most striking feature of the genre of homiletics.
In the past the question that researchers tried to answer was whether anti-Jewish polemic, which was introduced into homiletics in the second century A. Such polemic, more often than not, served for the Byzantines as a vehicle for the definition of their own identity as opposed to those of alien peoples and unbelievers. The example of John Ghrysostom's homilies has attracted a great deal of attention if one is to judge from the amount of secondary bibliography that has been produced on the subject. Cunningham, who perceives anti-Jewish invective as a vehicle for the identification of the community as opposed to the Others'.
To them dim, to us glorious; to them the retribution for killing God, to us the delight of the knowledge of God; to them grief, to us exultation; theirs the murder, ours the benefit. They envy our merriment. For they dared against the coming Saviour. They rebuked him, we welcomed him; they, throwing out of the vineyard the inheritor, killed him, while we, receiving the benefactor in the church, we are given life; they, cross; we, salvation by the cross.
Also, anti-Jewish polemic is most virulent in the context of the role of the Jews in the Passion of Christ. The epithets 'Christ-killer' and 'Christ-murderer' are found in Christian literature from the fourth century onwards.
In her book Visual Polemics, Kathleen Gorrigan demonstrated the new meaning that the representations of Jews acquired during this period: 'During the eighth and ninth centuries Iconoclasts were regularly called Judaizers and Iconoclasm was equated with Judaism'. Moreover, in the treatise Adversus Constantinum Caballinum, Jews are described as the quintessential heretics because, unlike the Hellenes, they had the truth and they rejected it.
The case is also supported by the use of invective by Photios in his homiletic corpus. The patriarch employs invective against Jews, heretics, Iconoclasts and schismatics alike. A great part of his homiletic corpus contains, or is even dedicated to, polemic. On the one hand there are the standard cases where homilists habitually employ anti-Jewish polemic and the invective forms part of the typical features of the text.
Such are the cases of homilies on Palm Sunday and on Good Friday. On the other hand, there are instances where the reader gets the impression that Photios has consciously chosen a certain subject in order to develop his polemic. Such is the example of the two homilies on Arius and the first ecumenical Council of Nicaea.
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