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Document Details :

Title: Two Syriac Dialogue Poems on Abel and Cain
Author(s): BROCK, S.P.
Journal: Le Muséon
Volume: 113    Issue: 3-4   Date: 2000   
Pages: 333-375
DOI: 10.2143/MUS.113.3.519363

Abstract :
The two lively dialogue poems (soghyatha) published here belong to a clearly defined genre of Syriac poetry which has its roots in ancient Mesopotamian precedence disputes. Among the comparatively small number of dialogue poems involving Old Testament characters the first of the two poems (Soghitha I) is probably the oldest, and since it was evidently known to Jacob of Serugh (in his homilies on Cain and Abel) it cannot be later than the fifth century. An early date for Soghitha I is in fact also likely seeing that it is transmitted in both eastern and western Syriac tradition. The second poem (Soghitha II), on the other hand, betrays a medieval date by the presence of rhyme, and if we accept its ascription to (Giwargis) Warda, then its date of composition can be narrowed down to the thirteenth century. Although Soghitha II clearly knows Soghitha I, it is by no means slavishly based upon it, and it provides a good example of the continuing use of the genre in the middle ages.

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