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Soundscapes of Salvation: Resounding Refrains in Jewish and Christian Liturgical Poems

A lecture by Prof. Ophir Münz-Manor

The Polis Interdisciplinary Colloquium: Souls and Sounds of the City

We do not know how hymns in Late Antiquity sounded. We do know that refrains became an important aspect of hymnody in the period, not only among Christians in the capital accustomed to acclamations, but also among Hebrew-speaking Jews and Syriac-speaking Christians further east. This paper investigates ways that the refrains contributed to shaping soundscapes or sonic space. Refrains should ring loudly, and the poems that will be discussed show a distinct awareness of the refrain's ability to shape the performative space. Throughout the song, the refrain would return repeatedly as an echo and saturate the room with loud voices. The hymnographers used this feature semantically, to dye the soundscapes with highly charged or pregnant notions, so that eventually the singing of the songs themselves gave way to the experience of community and deliverance. Conducted by poets, voices gathered to create soundscapes of salvation.

Friday May 12, 2023

Lecture Time: 11 AM

The Polis Institute, Classroom 6

(Also available live online)

8 HaAyin Het St

9511208 Jerusalem

+972 (0) 74 701-1048

The lecture is free however pre-registration is required at: [email protected]