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Title: Major Poems of the Hebrew Bible
Subtitle: At the interface of Prosody and Structutal Analysis - Volume III: The Remaining 65 Psalms
Written By: Jan P. Fokkelman
Series Title: Studia Semitica Neerlandica, 43

Each of the 85 Psalms (83 poems) discussed in the previous volume of Major
Poems of the Hebrew Bible has the highly remarkable feature of scoring an
exact integer as the average number of syllables per colon; sometimes seven
or nine, more often eight, which may be called the central normative figure
of Biblical poetry.
This can only mean that the classical poets did count their syllables.
Moreover, they succeeded in bringing about a creative merger between
various forms of numerical perfection and the structure of their songs,
which is generally underpinned by the correct articulation in strophes and

The breakthrough of this discovery became possible on the basis of (a) a
refined recipe for establishing the original (i.e. pre-Masoretic) syllable
structure of the ancient Hebrew, and (b) a definition of the colon.

In those poems in which the correct colometry is difficult to delimit, it
can be established only by a three-pronged approach tackling syntax,
prosody and semantics and able to combine them.

In this third volume, the 65 remaining Psalms are subject of structural
analysis, and once more are covered by full syllable counts. Although these
songs do not seek to apply the exact integers, they display the other forms
of numerical perfection on more than one textual level, so that they embody
the same poetics. This will be no different in volume IV, which deals with
Job 15-42 and will be published as the final volume in the Major Poems of
the Hebrew Bible project.

From the Contents

1 Introduction - Preliminary exercise: Proverbs 15
2 Psalms 15, 16, 18, 23, 24, 29
3 Psalms 34, 36, 39, 44, 45
4 Psalms 47, 49, 50, 53, 54, 57, 58
5 Psalms 60, 61, 63, 64, 65, 67, 68, 69
6 Psalms 80, 81, 82, 87, 88, 89
7 Psalms 91, 92, 93, 95, 96, 98, 101, 103, 105
8 Psalms 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117
9 Psalm 119
10 Eleven Psalms lamma(ªlot: 121, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 131, 132,
133, 134
11 Psalms 136, 138, 140, 143, 149
12 Conclusions


I Full syllable counts of 65 Psalms (division C)
II Full figures for 65 Psalms (division C)
III The Psalms laid out: frequency of colon lenghts per Psalm
IV Additional lists
a) Overall figures for 150 Psalms (148 poems)
b) Overview of the Psalms in Division C
c) Pluses and minuses: changes in the Hebrew text of the Psalms in Division C
d) List of the 346 tricola in the Psalter

Select Bibliography
Correction to Volumes I-II

Publication Year: 2003
Publisher: Brill
Review: Not available for review. If you would like to review a book on The LINGUIST List, please login to view the AFR list.
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Phonology
Ling & Literature
Subject Language(s): Hebrew, Ancient

Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9023239369
ISBN-13: 9789023239369
Pages: 446
Prices: Europe EURO 100.00
U.S. $ 149.00