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Text in ContextEssays by Members of the Society for Old Testament
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A. D. H. Mayes

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198263913

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2004

DOI: 10.1093/0198263910.001.0001

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Hebrew Poetry

Hebrew Poetry

(p.253) 10 Hebrew Poetry
Text in Context

W. G. E. Watson

Oxford University Press

This is the last of five chapters on the text of the Old Testament, and discusses Hebrew poetry in the context of the Hebrew (Old Testament) Bible. The introductory section looks at recent work on the discovery of the verse traditions of the ancient Near East, and discusses the difficulty of reading Hebrew poetry, the Hebrew poet's resources (tradition versus innovation) and the poet's voice and the lyrical first person singular (the lyrical ‘I’). The second section discusses the issue of differentiating between prose and poetry, the third discusses metre and rhythm, and the fourth discusses parallelism. Further sections discuss building blocks (line, half‐line, and couplet), the segmentation of poems, repetition, the exploitation of sound, figurative language, and poetic diction. The last section of the chapter looks at the matter of holding the reader's attention.

Keywords:   ancient Near East, building blocks, exploitation of sound, figurative language, first person singular, Hebrew Bible, Hebrew poetry, holding the reader's attention, metre, Old Testament, parallelism, poet's voice, poetic diction, prose versus poetry, reading, repetition, resources, rhythm, segmentation, verse traditions

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