The Library of Congress, Washington, D. C.


Dr. Joseph J. Palackal CMI,

to deliver the

Benjamin A. Botkin lecture cum performance

Topic: Syriac chants and Aramaic Christianity in India

Date: Thursday, May 31, 2018

Time: 12 noon – 1 PM

Venue: Whitall Pavilion, Jefferson Building, 101 Independence Ave. SE, Washington, D. C., 20540.

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Benjamin A. Botkin Folklife Lecture Series

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2018 Botkin Lectures

Syriac Chants and Aramaic Christianity in India, Joseph J. Palackal, ethnomusicologist and founder-president of the Christian Musicological Society of India"

May 31, 2018, Noon – 1:00 pm
Whittall Pavilion, Ground floor
Thomas Jefferson Building

Aramaic Christianity is an essential component of India's religious diversity. Christian faith came to the shores of South India from its source in West Asia, through the medium of the mother tongue of Jesus and the apostles. Christian Aramaic came to be known as Syriac, and due to unusual historical circumstances its tradition survived in India. In spite of the Syriac churches' decision to translate the liturgies into the vernacular in the 1960s, both the Syriac language and the music associated with it continue to be a part of the cultural legacy of India. This presentation includes a brief lecture, a video and a performance of Syriac chants. It calls for a reconfiguration of the ways in which India has been historically imagined.

Joseph J. Palackal, is the founder and president of the Christian Musicological Society of India. He earned a doctorate in ethnomusicology from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has contributed articles on Christian music in India to several international publications, including The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. He is principal vocalist for over forty releases in five languages, including Sanskrit and Syriac. He made his debut in New York in the off-Broadway show Nunsense. Currently he is working on a project to revive the sound, memories, and melodies of the Indian version of the Aramaic language.

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