THE PROWGUE OF THE CHRISTUS PAT/ENS AND EURIPIDEAN PROWGUES A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS
AbstractThe Christus patiens is a dramatic representation of the Passion of Christ, in which the literary conventions of classical tragedy, and especially the style and diction of Euripides, are extensively copied. In the printed tradition, it is generally described as a tragedy.l However, the defInition iJ1r668qt~ apaJ.ta1'tlC~ ('dramatic plot'), which occurs frequently in the manuscript tradition, seems to give a more accurate description of the nature of this poem. It is traditionally attributed to Gregory of Nazianzus, but its authenticity has been disputed by many scholars since the late sixteenth century. 2 Even after the detailed defence of the attribution to Gregory by Tullier (1969:11-74), many dissenting voices still remain. The present author (Swart 1990) regards the authorship of Gregory as probable, though not irrefutably proven, while the date of composition must be considered to be much earlier than the eleventh to twelfth century as suggested by some scholars. External evidence strongly suggests that the poem was composed before the sixth century. Thus it is a product of the early Byzantine period, and as such an interesting example of the way in which literary practices of Classical Antiquity were imitated by the Byzantines.
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