This paper explores the use of legal imagery in 5th century homilies by Christian authors from Asia Minor writing in Greek. I particularly focus on the idea of legally framed 'redemption' of sinners by Christ.
The paper publishes Greek Christian inscriptions from the Crimea either re-found or newly discovered mostly in 2015–2016, which are missing in the IOSPE3 V. These finds allowed us to get photographs of IOSPE3 V 165, 307 and to correct the reading of IOSPE3 V 126, 222, and 246. The new finds comprise slabs from Bermana Ravine in vicinity of Sevastopol (add. 1, 2), a commemorative inscription from 1365/6 AD from a small church above Verkhorech’e (Biia-Sala) (add. 3), graffiti from a roadside altarless church near Il’ka Mountain in vicinity of Mangup (add. 5) and Eski-Kermen (add. 6), tombstones from Staryi Krym (Solkhat) from 1361/2 (add. 7), Tyritake from ca. 900 (add. 8), Kerch from the sixth (add. 10) and eleventh (add. 9) centuries, and Bogatyr’ from 1509, and also building inscription from a cave church at Zagaitanskaia Cliff in Inkerman from 1303 (add. 4). The latter mentions that the church was dedicated to St. Nicholas of Myra in Lycia and the name of John Skleros, a previously unknown Metropolitan Bishop of Cherson, and also the kellion of monk Helias, which revives the question of the status of minor cave monasteries in the Mountainous Crimea.
The homily on the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (Assumptio sancte Marie) is part of the collection usually referred to in the historiography as “The Icelandic Homily Book”. Composed, by all appearances, before 1200, the homily is one of the earliest Icelandic written texts as well as an example of the prose of Christian instruction. The homily composer faced a challenging task of expressing new notions and describing new phenomena with the language which was not used to them, and the solution of this task resembles, on the one hand, the colloquial language of the sagas of Icelanders, while, on the other hand, it is a rather obscure “learned style” seeking to imitate the rhetorical techniques of Latin. It is unknown whether this homily was to be read in front of the audience or was it some sort of an example for a homilist. The latter suggestion is supported by the heterogeneous structure of the “Book” as a whole as well as by the presence of non-liturgical texts in it, whereas the former — by the use of the first-person pronouns and direct addressing the audience. This paper provides a translation of the homily, together with a few introductory remarks.
This article presents a review of a conference Debt: 5000 Years and Counting that took place at the University of Birmingham (Birmingham Research Institute for History and Cultures) on June 8–9, 2018. The conference was based on the recent influential book Debt: The First Five Thousand Years by David Graeber. The conference gathered representatives from all social sciences to discuss the understudied topic of history and ideology of debt. The review contains references to several papers discussed at the conference to give an idea of the approaches used in one way or another in many of the papers. The papers discussed in the review were devoted to the boost of micro-credit in Latvia after the 2008 global financial crisis, the ideology of trapped equity that led to this crisis, the attempt to resolve confusion between the view that debts are to be repaid and the view that profiting from lending is evil, credit in the Islamic Caliphate in the 7th to 10th centuries, the long durée of public debt since the Middle Ages to Early Modern times, and the royal debts in England in the middle of the 16th century. The conference was interesting not only because of the importance of the subject but also because of the originality of the format which helped make the event less hierarchical and less dominated by the academic elite. In addition, one of the aims of the conference was to combine academic and activist approaches. Among the participants there were a few activists. This experience is also described in the review.
For more than a millennium there have been reports testifying to the presence of Goths in the Crimea. However, until a few years ago, the only evidence of a Gothic or Germanic idiom spoken in the peninsula stems from the list of words recorded between 1560 and 1562 by Ogier de Busbecq. Significant new evidence, however, has become available through the recent discovery of five Gothic graffiti scratched on two reused fragments of a cornice belonging to the early Byzantine basilica at Mangup-Qale in the Crimea. The graffiti, datable to between about 850 and the end of the 10th century, exhibit words in Gothic known from Wulfila’s Bible translation, the script used being an archaic variant of Wulfila’s alphabet and the only specimen of this alphabet attested outside Pannonia and Italy. There would seem to be evidence for assuming that, among educated Crimean Goths, Gothic served as a spoken vernacular in a triglossic situation along with a purely literary type of Gothic and with Greek in the second half of the 9th century.
The article discusses Middle Byzantine brick decoration in the churches of the Caucasus and Kievan Rus
This paper is a brief case study of a fourth-century Greek epigram from Aegina (IG IV, 53), which is discussed as an instance of 'hybrid' diction bringing together classicizing diction and elements of Christian idiom. I frame my argument within the recent research into late antique epigraphic poetry and the dynamics of the traditional Hellenic and Christian styles in it. The case study, forming part of a Companion to languages in Christianity, seeks to highlight the recent developments in the study of the epigraphic discourse in late antiquity, the issues of literary paideia, and Christianization of the elite.
Academic perspectives on the dynamics between early Christianity and the classical culture have been going through a dramatic change in the last decades. The major development in how scholars conceive of early Christians vis-à-vis vis a vis the ‘Hellenic’, or ‘pagan ’, cultural heritage has been the constantly growing realization that the watershed between the two was at least not as neat as pictured before. In what follows, I will discuss three strands in the complex interaction of early Christian theologians with Plutarch’s writings. Proceeding from the instances of polemical attacks on ‘pagan’ religious thinking in Plutarch on to patterns of positive engagement with his legacy, I will emphasize how much Plutarch was an essential part of the literary and philosophical culture which Christians shared with non-Christians in late antiquity. My focus will be mainly on the third and fourth century AD and on the instances of sustained and demonstrably deliberate use of Plutarch’s writings by Christian theologians rather than on more general parallels and echoes of his works in early Christian discourse
This volume arises from the international conference 'Hymns of the First Christian Millennium — Doctrinal, Devotional, and Musical Patterns' held in June 2014 at the Institute of Classical Studies in conjunction with King's College London. The original scope of the conference has been re-scaled to focus particularly on late antique Christian devotion as it manifests itself in hymns; experts on a variety of topics of early Christian hymnody have been invited to boost both specificity and depth of discussion in the proposed volume. The resulting collection of papers covers a range of aspects of literary, social, doctrinal, musicological, and devotional patterns of Christian hymnic texts, their liturgical and pious use in the period of late antiquity.
Review of T. Arentzen, The Virgin in Song. Mary and the Poetry of Romanos the Melodist (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017)
The article presents a quite new interpretation of the imperial diet of Metz (1356/1357), and of the origin purpose of those articles of the Golden Bull that were added to the main bulk of its text on the eve of this diet.
The paper offers a detailed response to the criticism over our publication (2015) of the recently found Gothic graffiti from Crimea. We address and clarify technical nuances pertaining to the first discovery of the stones bearing the graffiti, their storage and rediscovery, and the circumstances of their original appearance according to our reconstruction - all those being questioned by D. A. Shalyga (2016, 2017), as well as her puzzlement at the absence of local dialect traits in their language, which we explain as a vestige of the fact that the literary idiom of the Crimean Goths was the language of Wulfila’s Bible translation. Responding to the article by M. A. Kurysheva and B. L. Fonkich (2017) that concentrates on the dating of Greek inscriptions on the same stones (and on which our date for the Gothic graffiti is dependent) we challenge the authors’ principal claim that the uncial beta with the elongated lower stroke and the minuscule in Greek inscriptions of the North Black Sea region may predate the 9th century.