A study of rhetorical devices in Ugaritic verse

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To be sure, Lowth was not the first to notice the phenomenon of parallelism for the pre- Lowthian history of the study of parallelism see Kugel 96— , but, due to the then-current trends in biblical studies and his own prominence in the field, it was his definition, articulated in the introduction to Isaiah , that became the classic definition of parallelism. The correspondence of one Verse, or Line, with another I call Parallelism.

When a proposition is delivered, and a second is subjoined to it, or drawn under it, equivalent, or contrasted with it, in Sense; or similar to it in the form of Grammatical Construction; these I call Parallel Lines; and the words or phrases answering one to another in the corresponding Lines Parallel Terms. Lowth spoke of the correspondence of parallel lines and terms. Studies of parallelism from the late 18th century until the s reiterated, with ever-increasing refinements, the basic sameness of parallel lines.

Not until the work of J. Kugel and R. Alter was the balance rectified. The views of Kugel and Alter place the emphasis on the difference between parallel lines. Parallel lines could now be seen as adding new information, containing an intensification or a progression, rather than just going over old material in new words. From his mouth came devouring fire;.

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Live coals blazed forth from him. Actually, it is not a question of either sameness of difference, either synonymity or continuity; both dimensions are equally present in parallelism, and it is the creative tension between them that makes this such a pleasing figure. Both Kugel and Alter came to the study of the Bible from literary criticism, and both brought their finely honed skills as readers to parallelistic texts. But literary criticism often eschews precise analysis in favor of more diffuse observations.

Rhetorical Analysis: An Introduction to Biblical Rhetoric

So, while achieving a reorientation of the view of parallelism, Kugel and Alter achieve it only at a level of extreme generality. They offer only the vaguest definitions of parallelism and do not provide the criteria for deeper analysis of its workings. A mathematical approach, stressing the symmetries between parallel lines, is espoused half-heartedly by W.

Watson — , but for the most part Watson relies either on grammatical models or those preceding them. Linguistic models have been proposed by S. Geller, E. Greenstein, and A. All three draw on modern linguistics, especially transformational grammar and the views of R.

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Jakobson see below. While there are major differences between 18th and 19th century studies and the most recent studies of parallelism, they have some things in common. All attempt to analyze parallelistic texts with the most current literary and linguistic tools available; and all seek to define the relationships that pertain between parallel lines. The preceding section presented a simplified summary of the major approaches to the study of parallelism. Based on the semantic relationship of the parallel lines, Lowth reduced parallelism to three sorts: synonymous, antithetic, and synthetic.

Happy is the man who fears the Lord;. Who is greatly devoted to his commandments. A wise son makes glad his father;. But a foolish son is the grief of his mother. In synthetic parallelism also called constructive or formal parallelism , according to Lowth ,.

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Eccl is an example:. Give a portion to seven, and also to eight;. For you do not know what evil shall be upon the earth. Some viewed it as a catchall of miscellaneous, difficult-to-categorize cases, and others did not think that it was a legitimate form of parallelism at all. As parallelism was studied more closely, its many permutations became evident: word order might vary from line to line; some terms might be ellipsed and others added i. To some extent, Lowth had allowed for these permutations within his three types, but, given the scholarly penchant for categorizing and labeling, it was not long before the number of types grew.

The most well-known of these additional types will be presented here. Proclaim in Judah;. And in Jerusalem announce. Chiastic patterning is not limited to parallelism, but it is often found in parallel lines. A steplike pattern in which some elements from the first line are repeated verbatim in the second and others are added to complete the thought.

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  • Judg provides an illustration:. Awake, awake, chant a song. Greenstein and ; Loewenstamm ; Watson — A parallelism in which a simile or metaphor forms one of the lines, as in Ps As a hind yearns for watercourses;. So my soul yearns for you, God. This type of parallelism hinges on the use of a single word with two different meanings, one of which forms a parallel with what precedes and the other with what follows.

    Thus, by virtue of a double entendre, the parallelism faces in both directions.

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    An example is Gen The blessings of your father. To the utmost bounds of the eternal hills. Watson ; Rendsburg Although 20th-century scholars continued to refine the distinctions involving the relationships between parallel lines as a whole, the major efforts were placed on the analysis of certain sets of parallel terms, or, as they came to be known, fixed word pairs. It was thought that such pairs were the functional equivalents of the formulas in Greek and Yugoslavian poetry that enabled a poet to compose orally.

    Lists of these pairs grew long they number over 1, , as did the bibliography on word pairs See primarily Dahood Psalms AB, 3. Attention was paid to frequency, to the order in which the members of a pair occurred, and to their grammatical form. Inevitably, there were attempts to categorize the semantic relationship between words in a pair: synonyms, antonyms, a whole and a part, abstract and concrete, common term and rare or archaic term, the breakup of stereotyped phrases.

    In the last, a conventional phrase is split, one part occurring in one line and the other in the next line cf.

    Studies in Hebrew and Ugaritic Psalms | Avishur Yitzhak | Hebrew

    Melamed , Josh , is split in Zech I shall banish chariots from Ephraim;. And horses from Jerusalem. Likewise in Ps — Eng These call on chariots;. And those on horses. Many scholars saw in word pairs the essence of parallelism, the sine qua non without which parallel lines could not exist.

    These conclusions reflect the fact that the impetus for the study of word pairs was intimately bound up with theories of oral composition, unproved and unprovable at least for biblical poetry. But even when these theories came under criticism, the collecting of word pairs did not cease, for word pairs had taken on a life of their own in biblical studies. As such, this enterprise represents one of the most extensive lexical studies of ancient texts.

    The preoccupation with word pairs focused attention on the similarities between Hebrew and Ugaritic poetry, and on certain of their lexical aspects, but it did so to the neglect of the rest of the parallelism and the pairing of other terms in it which did not occur with any notable frequency. Moreover, it threatened to perpetuate certain misunderstandings about the nature of parallelism and the nature of word pairs. Kugel 27—39; Berlin , 64— By the s the influence of modern linguistic research, especially structural linguistics and transformational grammar, began to be felt in biblical studies.

    Interest in the grammatical analysis of poetry grew, and with it, the grammatical analysis of parallelism. They varied somewhat in type and level of analysis cf. Berlin 18—30 , but they all signaled a return to the analysis of the line as a whole, rather than the concentration on word pairs; and they all showed that linguistics had something new and important to contribute to the study of parallelism.