Major Poems of the Hebrew Bible

Major Poems of the Hebrew Bible

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Volume II of qMajor Poems of the Hebrew Bibleq deals with 85 Psalms (83 poems) and the poems in Job 4-14, and aims at presenting an integrated prosodical theory which is able to bypass the highly controversial question of metrics. There are two approaches which initially are kept apart on grounds of method: structural analysis and the counting of the original, i.e. pre-Masoretic, syllables. Each poem receives a compact description of structure which gives a reasoned delimitation of cola, verses, and strophes. In a separate operation, the syllable counts for each word, colon, verse, strophe, stanza, section and poem are recorded in a comprehensive Appendix. All the poems under discussion show a precise integer as the average of syllables per colon. For half of them this is 8.00, the others have either 7.00 or 9.00. The 9.00 is a ceiling: there is no Psalm with a higher average. Combining the two approaches, the author shows that the poets themselves did count their syllables, and how they were able to mesh the syllable figures with the structural units of their compositions in a virtuoso combination. The greatest challenge of this enterprise is to delimit and objectify the correct colometry for all the songs, as the figure of syllables per colon depends on the right amount of cola. There are only about 30 Psalms which have a cola figure that can be considered beyond doubt. Fortunately, in the Book of Job the correct number of cola is certain for most chapters. Here we meet the number 8 again as a normative figureSo, after one quick S-strophe (with its 28 syllables strophe 6 is the shortest of all) we have already reached the desert: ... This is an explanatory line, it represents the point of view of the angry (v.21) deity, and as early as strophe 8 the poet hasanbsp;...

Title:Major Poems of the Hebrew Bible
Author:J. P. Fokkelman
Publisher:Uitgeverij Van Gorcum - 2000-01-01


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