From Gregory of Nazianzus to Theodore Prodromos

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Abstract

This article deals with the genre of biblical paraphrase or metaphrase in verse as a derivation of the rhetorical technique of rewriting of previous Classical and prestigious models, developed from Late Antiquity to the late Byzantine period. The article consists of a methodological and conceptual introduction, where the concept of rewriting and metaphrastic techniques are described. In the following sections, there is a chronological account of the different Greek biblical paraphrases, with an analysis of formal aspects, the authors and their motivations, as well as the contexts of diffusion of each text. The review of the not very numerous paraphrastic poems based in passages of Holy Scriptures in the Greek language proves the continuity of the genre in scholastic contexts and in intellectual and aristocratic environments. Although early paraphrases had a didactic and evangelizing function, the aesthetic function is always the fundamental one in this literary type, which maintains formal models throughout its whole itinerary but changes its forms according to the tastes of the times.