This article examines one of the few musical scenes in ancient Christian literature, the description of a wedding banquet in act 1 of Acts of Thomas, in which a female piper pays special attention to Thomas, and Thomas sings a “hymn to the bride.” The inner dynamics of the scene are explored, and its contribution to the wider themes of Acts of Thomas is considered.
J. Bremmer, “The Five Major Apocryphal Acts: Authorship, Place, Time, and Readership,” in The Apocryphal Acts of Thomas, ed. J.N. Bremmer (Leuven 2001) 160-70; in the same volume, see also Bremmer, “The Acts of Thomas: Place, Date, and Women,” 74-90.
Fear (Dan. 10,15; Lucan, Phar. 6,777-78; Heliodorus, Aeth. 2,15); distress for another (Euripides, Iph. Aul. 1577-78); shame or embarrassment for oneself (Leuc. et Clit. 5,25; 7,14; 8,4); modesty or desire to avoid a sexual encounter (Greek Acts of Andr. 14,8; Plutarch, Mor. 706b); defiance (Sophocles, Ant. 441); contemplation, gathering one’s thoughts (Heliodorus, Aeth. 1,21; 8,15; Philostratus, Vit. Apoll. 1,10); the desire to avoid a decision (Letters of Themistocles 10 in P.A. Rosenmeyer, Ancient Greek Literary Letters: Selections in Translation [London and New York 2006], 67); the effects of a prophetic trance (Philostratus, Vit. Apoll. 8,26).
E. Beck, “Ephräm des Syrers Hymnik,” in Liturgie und Dichtung: ein interdisziplinäres Kompendium, vol. 1: Historische Präsentation, ed. H. Becker and R. Kaczynski (St. Ottilien 1983) 345-79; McVey, “Were the Earliest Madrāšē Songs or Recitations?” 186, 188-90.