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Liturgical Press

Style And Structure In Biblical Hebrew Narrative

Jerome T. Walsh

Style And Structure In Biblical Hebrew Narrative
Style And Structure In Biblical Hebrew Narrative

ISBN: 9780814658970, 5897

Details: 224 pgs, 6 x 9
Publication Date: 02/01/2001

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The pages of the Hebrew Bible are filled with stories—short and long, funny and sad, histories, fables, and morality tales. The ancient narrators used a variety of stylistic devices to structure, to connect, and to separate their tales—and thus to establish contexts within which meaning comes to light. What are these devices, and how do they guide our reading and our understanding of the text? Style and Structure in Biblical Hebrew Narrative explores some of the answers and shows scriptural interpretation can be "a matter of style."

Part one of Style and Structure in Biblical Hebrew Narrative examines a wide variety of symmetrical patterns biblical Hebrew narrative uses to organize its units and subunits, and the interpretive dynamics those patterns can imply. Part two addresses the question of boundaries between literary units. Part three examines devices that biblical Hebrew narrative uses to connect consecutive literary units and subunits.

Chapters in Part One: Structures of Organization are "Reverse Symmetry," "Forward Symmetry," "Alternating Repetition," "Partial Symmetry," "Multiple Symmetry," "Asymmetry." Chapters in Part Two: Structures of Disjunction are "Narrative Components," "Repetition," and "Narrative Sequence." Chapters in Part Three: Structures of Conjunction are "Threads," "Links: Examples," "Linked Threads: Examples," "Hinges: Examples," and "Double-Duty Hinges: Examples."

Jerome T. Walsh, PhD, was a professor of theology and religious studies at the University of Botswana. He is the author of 1 Kings in the Berit Olam (The Everlasting Covenant) Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry series for which he was also an associate editor.


Through careful examination of innumerable texts Walsh offers a comprehensive grammar of the style and structure of Hebrew narrative. His valuable insight, made available to those who read the Bible in translation, enhance an expanding bibliography in literary studies. Serious students of the subject cannot afford to neglect this contribution.
Phyllis Trible, Emerita, Union Theological Seminary

. . . a fine resource for serious biblical study—while also helpful to liturgists, homilists, lectors.

Jerome Walsh combines a remarkably keen eye for structural dynamics with an uncanny ability to render into clear English distinctive features of Hebrew language and syntax. . . . Readers of this book will never read the Hebrew Scriptures in the same way again.
Robert L. Cohn, Philip and Muriel Berman Professor of Jewish Studies, Lafayette College

This accessible book . . . provides a welcome and important resource and will benefit both students and seasoned interpreters alike.
Ashland Theological Journal