The Basics of Hebrew Poetry: Theory and Practice
Almost 75 percent of the Old Testament is made up of poetic passages, yet for many readers (lay Christians, even seminary students and pastors), biblical poetic passages remain the greatest challenge. Being unfamiliar with poetry in general and biblical poetry...
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Almost 75 percent of the Old Testament is made up of poetic passages, yet for many readers (lay Christians, even seminary students and pastors), biblical poetic passages remain the greatest challenge. Being unfamiliar with poetry in general and biblical poetry in particular, their reading and preaching are limited to selected poetic passages. This in turn limits their understanding of God's word. To help readers overcome these problems, the first four chapters of this book aim to get them familiarized with the literary techniques of biblical poets. To demonstrate how the techniques work to bring across the biblical theological message, the last three chapters offer poetic analyses of three passages of different kinds. In the process, we hope to draw attention to the beauty of the Hebrew poetic art and to the creative skill of biblical poets' versification. The ultimate aim, however, is to help readers discover the rich message of the Bible. ""We should all be thankful to Dr. Samuel Goh for producing this insightful guide to the conventions of Hebrew poetry. In addition, he not only gives us the principles, but also outstanding examples of poetic analysis from passages in Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and Job. I was privileged to have Dr. Goh as a student when I taught at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia in the 1990s and have been pleased to see how he has gone on to establish himself as a leading scholar in Old Testament studies. This book is thus important for every serious student of the Hebrew Bible who wants to uncover the message that God, through his human authors, intended us to learn from the fascinating and powerful poems of the Old Testament."" --Tremper Longman III, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies, Westmont College ""In this concise introduction, Dr. Goh has written a most useful guide for understanding the Hebrew poetry of the Bible. Informed by recent scholarship, Dr. Goh skillfully explains the complexities of analyzing the different components that shape poetic texts, before illustrating from selected passages how such study may inform our reading. For anyone interested in understanding better the dynamics of biblical poetry, this book will prove exceptionally helpful."" --T. Desmond Alexander, Director of Postgraduate Studies, Union Theological College, Belfast Samuel T. S. Goh is Associate Professor of Old Testament at Singapore Bible College, Singapore. His articles have been published in international as well as regional journals.