Abstract New archival material relating to the discovery of the Flavia Sophe inscription is presented and arguments made that the inscription was discovered in situ . Careful attention to the epigraphical, palaeographical, and metrical aspects of the poem, as well as its use of nuptial imagery lead to new proposals for reconstructions. Arguments for a date in the second century are re-examined and strengthened. The language of the inscription is placed within the context of other Greek funeral epigrams to show that the writer of the epigram was well aware of the conventions Hellenistic funeral poetry and that the poem artfully subverts many of these conventions. And finally, I claim that for this group of Christians, the “bridal chamber ritual” should be understood as a mortuary rite.
Vigiliae Christianae – Brill
Published: Jan 27, 2014
Keywords: Flavia Sophe; Early Christianity; bridal chamber; Valentinus; Marcus; Gnosticism; epigraphy; Rome
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