The essays in Hymns, Homilies and Hermeneutics explore the literature of Byzantine liturgical communities and provide a window into lived Christianity in this period. The liturgical performance of Christian hymns and sermons creatively engaged the faithful in biblical exegesis, invited them to experience theology in song, and shaped their identity. These sacred stories, affective scripts and salvific songs were the literature of a liturgical community – hymns and sermons were heard, and in some cases sung, by lay and monastic Christians throughout the life of Byzantium. 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, illuminating the intersection between liturgical hymns, homiletics and hermeneutics.
Sarah Gador-Whyte, Ph.D. (2011, University of Melbourne), is Research Fellow in Biblical and Early Christian Studies in the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry at the Australian Catholic University, Melbourne. She is the author of Theology and Poetry in Early Byzantium: The Kontakia of Romanos the Melodist (Cambridge, 2017). Andrew Mellas, Ph.D. (2018, University of Sydney), is Senior Lecturer in Byzantine History & Liturgical Studies at St Andrew's Theological College. He is the author of Liturgy and the Emotions in Byzantium: Compunction and Hymnody (Cambridge, 2020).
Foreword Notes on Contributors
Introduction Sarah Gador-Whyte and Andrew Mellas
Part 1: Hermeneutics of Preaching
1 The Homiletic Audience as Embodied Hermeneutic: Scripture and Its Interpretation in the Exegetical Preaching of John Chrysostom Wendy Mayer
2 John Damascene’s Homily on the Withered Fig Tree (CPG 8058): Parable in Action, or Exegetical and Panegyrical Preaching in Interaction Fr Damaskinos (Olkinuora) of Xenophontos
3 John Damascene on the Transfiguration of the Lord: Mystical Homiletic Performance and Eschatological Hermeneutics Vassilis Adrahtas
4 Andrew of Crete’s Great Canon, Byzantine Hermeneutics, and Genesis 1–3 Doru Costache
Part 2: Performing and Experiencing Christianity
5 Knowledge in Song: Liturgical Formation and Transformation in Romanos the Melodist Sarah Gador-Whyte
6 Is There Room for Doubt in Christian Faith? Romanos the Melodist and John the Monk on the Apostle Thomas Mary B. Cunningham
7 The Tears of a Harlot: Kassia’s Hymn On the Sinful Woman and the Biblical Mosaic of Salvation Andrew Mellas
8 Looking, Listening and Learning: Justinian’s Hagia Sophia Brian Croke
9 “Blessed Is He Who Has Come and Comes Again”: Mimesis and Eschatology in Palm Sunday Hymns and Processions of Twelfth-Century Jerusalem Daniel Galadza
Part 3: Tradition and Reception
10 Syriac Hymnography before Ephrem Scott Fitzgerald Johnson
11 The Eye of the Soul in Plato and Pseudo-Macarius: Alexandrian Theology and the Roots of Hesychasm Eva Anagnostou-Laoutides
Particularly academic specialists and students working in the areas of history of Christian religion and lay experience of it; those with particular interest in liturgy, hymnography and homiletics.