Hymns, Homilies & Hermeneutics in Byzantium

Edited by Sarah Gador-Whyte & Andrew Mellas

Byzantina Australiensia vol. 25 (2020)

ISBN: 9789004439566

E-ISBN: 9789004439573

ISSN: 0725-3079

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The liturgical performance of Christian hymns and sermons as part of sacred rituals creatively engaged the faithful in biblical exegesis, invited them to experience theology in song and shaped their identity.  Hymns and sermons were heard, and in some cases sung, by lay and monastic Christians throughout the life of Byzantium.  These sacred stories, affective scripts and salvific songs were the literature of a liturgical community.  In the field of Byzantine studies there is a growing appreciation of the importance of liturgical texts for understanding the many facets of Byzantine Christianity.  We are in the midst of a liturgical turn.  This book is a timely contribution to the emerging scholarship, as it illuminates the intersection between liturgical hymns, homiletics and hermeneutics in Late Antiquity and Byzantium and their transmission and reception.  The contributors marry close textual analysis and careful contextualization of liturgical texts to provide a new picture of late-antique and Byzantine religious practice and thought.


Introduction, Sarah Gador-Whyte, Australian Catholic University & Andrew Mellas, University of Sydney

1. The Homiletic Audience as Embodied Hermeneutic: Scriptural Interpretation as Psychagogy in the Preaching of John Chrysostom, Wendy Mayer, Australian Lutheran College, University of Divinity

2. John Damascene’s Homily on the Withered Fig Tree: Exegetical and Panegyrical Preaching in Interaction, Damaskinos Olkinuora, University of Eastern Finland

3.  John Damascene on the Transfiguration of the Lord: Mystical Homiletic Performance and Eschatological Hermeneutics, Vassilis Adrahtas, University of New South Wales

4. Andrew of Crete’s Great Canon, Byzantine Hermeneutics, and Genesis 1-3, Doru Costache, St Cyril’s Coptic Orthodox Theological College, Sydney College of Divinity

5. Knowledge in Song: Liturgical Formation and Transformation in Romanos the Melodist, Sarah Gador-Whyte, Australian Catholic University

6. Is There Room for Doubt in Christian Faith? Romanos the Melodist and John the Monk on the Apostle Thomas, Mary Cunningham, University of Nottingham

7. The Tears of a Harlot: Kassia’s On the Sinful Woman and the Biblical Mosaic of Salvation, Andrew Mellas, University of Sydney

8. Looking, Listening and Learning: Justinian’s Hagia Sophia, Brian Croke, Macquarie University

9. Mimesis and Eschatology in Palm Sunday Hymns and Processions of Twelfth-century Jerusalem, Daniel Galadza, University of Vienna

10. Syriac Hymnography Before Ephrem, Scott Johnson, Oklahoma University

11. The Eye of the Soul in Plato and Pseudo-Macarius: Alexandrian Theology and the Roots of Hesychasm, Eva Anagnostou-Laoutides, Macquarie University