Ignatius the Deacon’s Verses on Adam in the Context of Early Biblical Drama
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Ignatius' Verses on Adam created in the 9th century is probably the first Christian attempt at composing a biblical drama. Ignatius, as well as Ezekiel, the author of Exagoge (2nd century BC), chooses his theme in the Old Testament and employs dramatic techniques known to him from classical tragedy. None the less, his work completely differs in its dramatic qualities from Exagoge, though Ezekiel was well acquainted with Hellenistic theatre practice, while theatre productions in Ignatius' times are not well evidenced and would be most likely limited to performances of mime. In the 9th century West The Harrowing of Hell was created, commonly considered to be the origin of liturgical drama. Whereas Ignatius exploits Greek dramatic legacy in his work, the author of The Harrowing does not take it into account and maybe deliberately casts it away, being inspired with Christian literature. It is impossible to resolve the issue, whether any of these texts had ever been staged, but the analysis of their performability shows the exquisite dramatic qualities of the Verses, surpassing even the Hellenistic Exagoge. The Harrowing on the other hand belongs to the culture, where theatre was going to be born, and shows basic traits of liturgical drama, drawing dramatic potential from different resources than classical drama.
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