Characteristics of Hebrew Poetry – Exam #3

Topics: ArtSymbolism

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Last updated: December 6, 2019

this refers to the relationship or correspondence between two or more phrases or lines of poetry.
Parallelism

this is the most frequent form. refers to the second poetic phrase repeating the thought of the first byt using different words
Synonymous Parallelism

here the second line contains antonyms rather than synonyms (i.e. words with the opposite meanings in order to develop a contrast. this form is common in the proverbs, many of which contrast wisdom with foolishness, godliness with ungodliness)
Antithetic Parallelism

here the second line builds on or completes the thought of the first.

this category is increasingly being rejected by old testament poetry scholars. they say it has been used as a “catch-all” category (i,e, what isn’t synonymous or antithetic is synthetic) However, the term is still used, so it should be known. The phenomenon of building the thought in successive poetic lines is certainly in Hebrew poetry

Synthetic or Formal Parallelism

the relationship here is that of analogy that is metaphor or simile. one of the lines contains a comparison or analogy from another sphere of life, often using “like” “so” or “as”
Emblematic Parallelism

here the second line repeats the first (which is an incomplete thought) but carries it on to completion also known as the stepladder, staircase, or climactic parallelism
Repetitive Parallelism

a frequent form in which the second line is reversed in this pattern A – B B’ – A’. the name comes from the Greek letter chi which looks like the English letter ‘X’ which can be used to connect the parts of the poetic phrase
Chiastic Parallelism

draws a word-picture in the reader’s imagination for the sake of comparison between a realm of life with which the reader is familiar and the moral or spiritual realm.
Imagery or Symbolism

this is an explicit comparison using the word “like” or “as”
Simile

here the comparison is implicit, without “like” or “as”
Metaphor

exaggeration or overstatement to make a point
Hyperbole

a statement in the form of a question
Rhetorical Question

one noun is used in the place of another because of the relationship between the two
Metonomy

describing God in terms of the human body
Anthropomorphism

describing lifeless or inanimate objects in terms of characteristics of human life
Personification

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