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
this refers to the relationship or correspondence between two or more phrases or lines of poetry.
this is the most frequent form. refers to the second poetic phrase repeating the thought of the first byt using different words
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)
here the second line builds on or completes the thought of the first.
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”
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
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
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”
here the comparison is implicit, without “like” or “as”
exaggeration or overstatement to make a point
a statement in the form of a question
one noun is used in the place of another because of the relationship between the two
describing God in terms of the human body
describing lifeless or inanimate objects in terms of characteristics of human life