Ezekiel the Tragedian

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Ezekiel the Tragedian, also known as Ezekiel the Dramatist[1] and Ezekiel the Poet, was a Jewish dramatist who wrote in Alexandria. Some scholars have placed his work in the 2nd century BCE, though the evidence of the date is not definitive.

His only known work, Exagōgē, survives only in fragments found in the writings of Eusebius, Clement of Alexandria, and Pseudo-Eustathius, nevertheless the extensive quotations by these writers make possible the assembly of 269 lines of text, mainly in paragraphs large enough to context.[2] The only more extensive remnant of the Greco-Jewish poets is that found in the Sibylline Oracles.[3]

Exagōgē is a five-act drama written in iambic trimeter, retelling of the biblical story of The Exodus from Egypt. Moses is the main character of the play, and parts of the biblical story have been altered to suit the narrative's needs. These changes probably point to Ezekiel's intention to stage the play, since certain scenes that are impossible to stage were converted into monologue. This drama is unique in blending the biblical story with the Hellenistic tragic drama, and was also a rarity in this point in the development of the tragic genre in its reliance on an allegedly historical event.[4]

The main modern edition is a parallel-text English-Greek edition by Howard Jacobson (classical scholar).[5][6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Moses' Throne Vision in Ezekiel the Dramatist by Pieter van der Horst (1983)
  2. ^ Joel Stevens Allen The despoliation of Egypt in pre-rabbinic, rabbinic and patristic Traditions, Brill, 2008, page 59, "First, Ezekiel's Exagôgê, with its extant 269 lines of iambic trimeters, is the most extensive example of the Greek dramatic literature of the Hellenistic period. Second, it is the earliest Jewish play in history, and as such provides important information as how a Hellenized Jew would try to mould biblical material into Greek dramatic forms by means of techniques developed by Greek tragedians."
  3. ^ John J. Collins, Between Athens and Jerusalem: Jewish Identity in the Hellenistic Diaspora, Crossroad, 1983, page 224: "Ezekiel the Tragedian - Another early specimen of "mystical" Judaism is found in the drama on the Exodus by Ezekiel, which, at 269 lines, is the most extensive remnant of the Greco-Jewish poets apart from the Sibylline Oracles"
  4. ^ Mills, Watson E. and Roger Aubrey Bullard. Mercer Dictionary of the Bible. Mercer University Press. p. 283.
  5. ^ Jacobson, Howard 1940-
  6. ^ The Exagoge of Ezekiel, ed. Howard Jacobson, 2009: "Professor Jacobson accompanies the text of the play with a translation. In the commentary he examines the fragments line by line, comparing them with the biblical account and other accounts in related Jewish sources."

Bibliography[edit]

  • J. Allen, "Ezekiel the Tragedian on the Despoliation of Egypt," Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha, 17,1 (2007), 3-19.
  • Kristine J. Ruffatto, "Raguel as Interpreter of Moses' Throne Vision: The Transcendent Identity of Raguel in the Exagoge of Ezekiel the Tragedian", Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha, 17,2 (2008), 121-139.
  • Koskenniemi, Erkki, "Dramatic Miracles: Ezekiel the Tragedian", in: The Old Testament miracle-workers in early Judaism, Mohr Siebeck, 2005, pp. 64 – 86
  • Brant, Jo-Ann A., "Mimesis and Dramatic Art in Ezekiel the Tragedians’ Exagoge", in: Ancient fiction: the matrix of early Christian and Jewish narrative, Society of Biblical Literature, 2005, pp: 129 - 148
  • Jacobson, Howard, The Exagoge of Ezekiel, Cambridge University Press, 1983