IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 823: Text and Identity in Byzantine Literature

Tuesday 7 July 2020, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Maroula Perisanidi, Classics, Ancient History & Archaeology, University of Nottingham
Paper 823-aAn Epigrammatist's Persona?: Metapoetic Imagery in the Preface of Menander Protector
(Language: English)
Martin M. Bauer, Institut für Sprachen und Literaturen, Universität Innsbruck
Index terms: Byzantine Studies, Historiography - Medieval, Language and Literature - Greek, Learning (The Classical Inheritance)
Paper 823-bFrequently Asked Questions: Canonical Erotapokriseis and Byzantine Religious Orthodoxy in the Komnenian Era
(Language: English)
James Deas David Jack Morton, Department of History Chinese University of Hong Kong
Index terms: Byzantine Studies, Canon Law, Language and Literature - Greek, Religious Life
Paper 823-cCould Misconception as a Result of Misunderstanding of a Church Father’s Text Lead to Misinterpretation?
(Language: English)
Theodora Panella
Index terms: Biblical Studies, Byzantine Studies, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Printing History

Paper -a:
The only extant source for the life of 6th century historian Menander Protector is the preface to his History, fragments of which have survived in the Suda and the Excerpta de Sententiis. Based on the information given there, it has been commonly assumed that Menander lived a rather dishonourable life as ‘one of the roués who frequented the Circus’ (Blockley), before he embarked on writing a history in continuation of Agathias. In my paper, I will discuss the possibility of a metapoetic reading of the preface and thus propose to look at Menander as another poet-historian of late antiquity and early Byzantium, alongside Olympiodorus and Agathias.

Paper -b:
The Komnenian era of Byzantine history (1081-1185) was a crucial period in the emergence of an Orthodox Christian religious identity distinct from that of Western Christendom. One significant yet little-studied aspect of this was the rise of professional legal scholarship in the Church of Constantinople. This paper will examine the development of one subset of this scholarship, the genre of canonical erotapokriseis (‘question-and-answer’ literature), which re-surfaced in the late 11th century after a hiatus of nearly 200 years. It will situate this genre in the historical context of institutional change in the Byzantine church and show how it illustrates the role of canon law in defining the borders of religious identity in the period.

Paper -c:
Biblical catena manuscripts contain both the biblical text and a form of commentary, which is a compilation of extracts mainly from the Greek Church Fathers. Various catenae on the different books of the Bible were compiled between the 6th and 12th centuries by several compilers. In typical appearance, the manuscript has either only relatively few words of text in large letters in the center of the page surrounded by abundant commentary. In the better catenae each excerpt is introduced by the name of the commentator or by an identifying abbreviation. Where this is not the case, some excerpts can only be tentatively ascribed to a given Father or be left as of unknown authorship. This paratextual feature or even the excerpt itself have often been modified by the compilers, whereas especially the names of the authors preceding the excerpts are eliminated or added later or more often misplaced by later copyists, either intentionally or unintentionally. This had as a result the modern printed editions to reproduce repeatedly this misunderstanding and finally lead to a misinterpretation of the text by modern interpretators. This paper will discuss examples from New Testament catenae and reflect on possible improvements for the future editions of these texts.