LOPATINA M.Yu. Fusion of Ancient Heritage and Christian Doctrine in the Poem of John of Gaza “Description of the Cosmic Table”

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2020.6.17 

Marina Yu. Lopatina

Postgraduate Student,

Belgorod National Research University,

Studencheskaya St, 14, 308007 Belgorod, Russian Federation

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Abstract. Introduction. John of Gaza is the only known grammarian poet who belongs to the cultural environment of the Gaza School. His work “Description of the Сosmic Table” is a unique extant poetic work that corresponds to the ancient literary genre. Despite the final Christianization of Gaza at the end of the 4th century, the classical elements did not outlive their usefulness. The poem by John of Gaza written in the genre of ekphrasis is a vivid example of this phenomenon. The author actively appealed to the works of ancient authors and to a lesser extent to the Christian works when he created his poem. Therefore, the main purpose of our study is to identify sources – exact quotes, expressions that can be identified in another work – paraphrased or repeated verbatim.

Methods. The author conducts his research on the basis of the historical and comparative method, which allows to compare the work of John of Gaza with the works of other authors. Thus, it allows to reveal the sources used in the poem.

Analysis. The author in his work divides conditionally cited authors into ancient and Christian, and also argues the thesis that the works of the former occupy an important place as a source of borrowings.

Results. Based on the analysis, the author identified four main characteristics that clearly indicate the echoes of the cultural heritage of antiquity. Interpretation and understanding of allegorical and Christian images in Early Byzantium with the help of Homer, Nonne of Panopolis, Aristophanes, Menander, etc. still occupied an important place in the life of the Gazans. The citation of Christian authors, first of all John Chrysostom, is explained by the historical time associated with the transformation of religious consciousness. In general, it can be noted that the poem of the Byzantine poet John of Gaza is a “fusion” of ancient heritage and Christian doctrine.

Key words: John of Gaza, Description of the Cosmic Table, Gaza, ekphrasis, Early Byzantium, ancient heritage.

Citation. Lopatina M.Yu. Fusion of Ancient Heritage and Christian Doctrine in the Poem of John of Gaza “Description of the Cosmic Table”. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2020, vol. 25, no. 6, pp. 222-230. (inRussian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2020.6.17.

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Fusion of Ancient Heritage and Christian Doctrine in the Poem of John of Gaza “Description of the Cosmic Table” by Lopatina M.Yu. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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