Department of Religious Studies

Singing Women's Stories in Ancient Syriac Christianity

Mon, March 28, 2011 | TBA

A lecture by Susan Ashbrook Harvey (Brown University)

Presented by the Late Antiquity Workshop

Ancient Christians delighted to re-tell biblical stories in the songs and sermons of their devotional gatherings. In Syriac Christianity, women’s choirs often sang these songs, and often in the imagined voices of biblical women. Furthermore, Syriac sacred poetry (both hymns and verse homilies) generally portrayed women as the great heroes and moral exemplars of the Bible, rather than the men. What might this striking homage to women’s voices real and imagined teach us about ancient Christianity? Examples from the Nativity (Christmas), women’s laments, and typological interchange.

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