Balai (early 5th cent.)
Chorepiscopos and poet writing in the region of Aleppo. His five madroše on Aqaq, bp. of Beroea (Aleppo), who died in 436, provide the only indication of his date and locality (ed. Overbeck, 259–69). These poems are very general in character and more interesting is his madrošo on the Dedication of a new church in Chalcis (Qenneshrin; translations by Graffin and McVey). According to the oldest ms. of the 12 memre on the patriarch Joseph (ed. Bedjan), these too were by Balai, rather than Ephrem; it remains unclear which attribution is correct (Phenix prefers Balai). Later tradition knows Balai primarily as the originator of the five-syllable meter (also identified as ḥoʾen l-ḥaṭoye), in which numerous boʿwoto and takšpoto are written (samples are given by Zetterstéen); the real authorship of these remains uncertain.
- P. Bedjan, Histoire complète de Joseph par Saint Ephrem (2nd ed. 1891).
- J. J. Overbeck, S. Ephraemi Syri Rabulae episcopi Edesseni Balaei aliorumque opera selecta (1865; repr. 2007), 251–336.
- K. V. Zetterstéen, Beiträge zur Kenntniss der religiösen Dichtung Balai’s (1902).
- F. Graffin, ‘Poème de Mar Balai pour la dédicace de l’église de Qennesrin’, ParOr 10 (1981/2), 103–21.
- K. McVey, ‘The Sogitha on the church of Edessa in the context of other early Greek and Syriac hymns for the consecration of church buildings’, ARAM 5 (1993), 329–70, esp. 259–67.
- R. R. Phenix, The Sermons on Joseph of Balai of Qenneshrin. Rhetoric and interpretation in fifth-century Syriac literature (Studien und Texte zu Antike und Christentum 50; 2008).
- E. Vergani, ‘Isaia 6 nella letteratura siriaca: Balai e Giovanni il Solitario’, Annali di scienze religiose 7 (2002), 171–92.
How to Cite This Entry
Footnote Style Citation with Date:
Sebastian P. Brock, “Balai,” in Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition, edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay (Gorgias Press, 2011; online ed. Beth Mardutho, 2018), https://gedsh.bethmardutho.org/Balai.
Bibliography Entry Citation:
Brock, Sebastian P. “Balai.” In Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition. Edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay. Digital edition prepared by David Michelson, Ute Possekel, and Daniel L. Schwartz. Gorgias Press, 2011; online ed. Beth Mardutho, 2018. https://gedsh.bethmardutho.org/Balai.
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