Narsai Memra 16 Recording

A little while ago I tweeted a recording of a short passage from Narsai (the 5th Century writer who is the subject of my next book). That tweet was originally a response to a strange footnote I saw that claimed Narsai’s poetic sermons (“memre”) do not have any poetic stress, but only counted syllables.* I was pretty shocked by this, since the trochaic stress of every line of Narsai slaps you in the face like an angry Chaldean grandmother.

In any case, I thought it might be a good idea to do a more extensive recording, both because it might be instructive, and because I’m petty enough to beat my point to death. So here’s a complete recording of Narsai’s Memra 16: On Human Nature.**

You can read along here.

* Philip Michael Forness, “The Construction of Metrical Poetry in the Homilies of Narsai of Nisibis and Jacob of Serugh,” in Narsai, ed. Aaron M. Butts, Kristian S. Heal, and Robert A. Kitchen (Tubingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2020): 93-115. The footnote in question is number 16 on page 96.

** As found in Alphonse Mingana, Narsai Homiliae et carmina (Mosul: Typis Fratrum praedicatorum, 1905), vol. 1: 257-70.

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