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Poetic form was easy to remember.
Problem with Hebrew Poetry
The bible never uses the word “poetry”.
James Kugel claims
There is no such things as poetry in the OT, what we see is more of a continuum of literature, a listing of basic events on one end to a heightened rhetoric of parallelism on the other end of the continuum.
Characteristics of Hebrew Poetry
Irregularities in meter and syntax.
Uses lines as basic units of building blocks.
Hebrew Poetry Building Blocks
Monatic – One lineDiatic – Two linesTiatic – Three linesStrophe – made of group of lines, like paragraph, that are range or develop of one idea.
Psalm 46 uses 2 Strophes
Verse 7 and 11 both end with “the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Structuring of lines in such a way that they exhibit patterns of literary symmetry and balance. Structure creates balance of vocabulary, form and structure of text, and meaning and thoughts or ideas.
What is the distinguishing characteristics in Hebrew Poetry?
Bishop Robert Lowth – Father of Hebrew Poetry
Synonymous ParallelismLine 1 = line 2 in meaning (not popular)Antithetic ParallelismLine 1 is the opposite of line 2 in meaningSynthetic ParallelismLine 2 in some way completes line 1
James Kugel explains Hebrew Poetry
Hebrew poetry may be understood as A, what’s more, B.
(Synthetic, but ties to Synonymous and Antithetic)
Held to the same view as Kugel. Intensification of meaning.