By Les D. Maloney

A note Fitly Spoken explores major poetic units in the 4 alphabetic acrostic psalms present in publication I of the Psalter. the vast majority of scholarly opinion has been that those acrostics are poetically and artistically poor as a result of writers’ and editors’ preoccupation with the alphabetic trend. unlike this view, A be aware Fitly Spoken proposes that the acrostic development contributes to, instead of detracts from, the poetic artistry of those psalms. so one can advertise a holistic, canonical analyzing of the 4 acrostic poems inside booklet I of the Psalter, this learn additionally examines the linguistic and grammatical connections in the textual content. any such shut studying again and again demonstrates the emotive strength and the mind's eye of this literature in contradiction to its supposedly stiff, wood nature. A observe Fitly Spoken is attuned to the widespread performs on observe and sound that take place all through those 4 poems and as such will be worthwhile in graduate classes on biblical interpretation, Hebrew poetry, or the Psalms.

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Extra resources for A Word Fitly Spoken: Poetic Artistry in the First Four Acrostics of the Hebrew Psalter (Studies in Biblical Literature, Volume 119)

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Instead, the focus of this study will be to emphasize the rhetorical and poetical structure of the first four acrostics in the Psalter. In this 20 A Word Fitly Spoken respect, this study is similar to the work begun by Hanson and carried on by Soll. Of course, before the hegemony of form criticism, with its emphasis on setting, dating, and formulae, the poetics of the psalms were duly noted throughout the history of research. The survey of the research into the poetry of the Psalms presented above demonstrates this fact.

This concern with dating and with the “chronological sequence” of the poems is Löhr’s main focus. Finally then, he turns his attention to the question of the purpose of the acrostic form. This question, he says, must remain open (unanswered) although he does have an opinion about the effect of the acrostic pattern. ”70 Rudolf Kittel’s commentary of 1914 is also important for this survey. Kittel drafts several excurses on important topics as he works his way through the Psalter. One such brief excursus addresses the question of the rationale behind the alphabetic acrostics.

19 This grammatically-balanced beginning is an elegant opening for this poem and serves to emphasize the psalmist’s thanksgiving for Yahweh’s help. An additional incidence of the “poetry of grammar” should be examined. 20 For example, in this poem the terms hdw) and hrps) in v 2 have distinct semantic meanings, “to praise” and “to recount” respectively. In this verse, however, these two terms are morphologically similar, due to their inflectional forms, and are placed together with the Psalm 9/10 27 effect that they become synonymous in the internal world of the poem.

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