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Title: Poetic Imagination in Proverbs: Variant Repetitions and the Nature of Poetry
Author: Heim, Knut Martin
Publisher: Eisenbrauns; Publication Date: 2013
Hardcover; ISBN: 9781575068107
Volumes: 1; Pages: 550
List Price in Hardcover: $69.50 Our price: $58.99
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For the last 250 years or so, the reigning paradigm for the study of Hebrew poetry (parallelism in particular) has been the one developed by Bishop Robert Lowth, who proposed three categories of parallelism: synonymous, antithetic, and synthetic. It is not without reason that Lowth's description of synthetic parallelism is somewhat vague, for it was designed to cover very different kinds of 'parallel' lines, and the supposed parallel in the second half of the poetic line is not always obvious. Prov 16:12 is a typical example of the less obvious kind of synthetic parallelism: "Kings loathe wicked action, for a throne is sustained by righteousness."
There are serious problems with this approach: it distracts from the meaning of the partial lines that make up the poetic line, it distracts from the complex relationships between the partial lines, and it distracts from the relationship between the poetic lines and their contexts.
Heim's study of variant repetitions in Proverbs encounters parallelism on four levels. While intralinear parallelism is the most frequent kind of parallelism, there are numerous occasions when one or both verses in a variant set display less than 'perfect' parallelism or no parallelism on the intralinear level. On many of these occasions, parallelism exists on the semilinear, interlinear, or translinear level instead.
In this book, 96 sets of repeated verses are presented in Hebrew and broken into partial lines; and an English translation is provided for each. Where appropriate, notes follow that discuss uncertainties regarding the textual witnesses (textual criticism) and explore lexical, grammatical, and syntactical problems.
Heim also looks in detail at the way the parallelism in each verse of a variant set has been constructed. The presentation of similarities and variations between members of a variant set usually begins with a diagram or table that highlights the similarities and differences. These diagrams are then followed by detailed explanations of the similarities and variations. Key to this investigation is the search for links between the variants and their surrounding verses, links such as repetitions of sound and sense. Sometimes Heim concludes that a variant is likely to have been adapted from its variant counterpart(s) elsewhere in order to fit into its present context. Conversely, he sometimes argue with good reason that a given variant is the original from which another variant has been adapted.
Readers will find essential new tools in Poetic Imagination in Proverbs for the analysis of Hebrew poetry, particularly in regard to Wisdom passages in the Bible. The book will prove profitable for preparation for classroom lectures, in personal exegesis, and in research for publication projects. No student or scholar of biblical poetry will want to be without this important contribution to the study of Biblical Hebrew poetry, which plows new ground and opens up new vistas.
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