Syriac Dialogue Hymns and New Comedy
Robyn Faith Walsh [+]
University of Miami
Reflecting on Willi Braun’s “Rhetoric, Rhetoricality, and Discourse Performances,” this essay reconsiders Syriac dialogue hymns, with an eye to how the use of stock characters and storylines, dynamic dialogue, and development within New Comedy may have acted as a foil for the hymnists. Much like the theater, the dialogue hymn offered space for the retelling of well-known myths with familiar characters and plots. Coupled with the popularity of comedic theater as a local, civic amusement, the dialogue hymn arguably embodies what amounted to an open competition between the church and the theater. It also may be a relic of speech-in-action— the live performance preserved in the fixed text.