So, one of the really interesting things I learned this past week was about Hebrew poetry, and that the main identifying marker is actually parallelism. Now, there are different types of parallelism, and I won’t get into it at the moment, but basically, for example:
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the waters. (Psalm 24:1-2)
I put the “same” things in the same marked up portion. There’s a lot of repetition in Hebrew poetry, sometimes being explanatory, sometimes being antithetical, sometimes sympathetic, etc.
So, one of the several reasons I have for being interested in this is because I love poetry to begin with – but this is a completely different set of “rules”, if you will, than any I have attempted to write before. So, in order to both learn more, and do the work for my class, I’ve decided to do the final paper for the class on Micah, which is almost entirely done in poetic form.
The other difficulty is that I’ve been working on rewriting Psalm 119 in order to make it an acrostic in English, rather than Hebrew. The problem there is that I did so without actually understanding that Hebrew poetry is completely different from western poetry; it’s not that it just doesn’t rhyme in English – it was never meant to rhyme at all. But I had no idea about the parallelism. Now I’m going to need to go back to what I’ve rewritten and ensure that the parallel meanings have remained the same.
Anyway, I will be getting assistance from a few books the professor recommended, one of which I’m actually waiting to arrive from Amazon (as the only copy was checked out of the library). I’m hoping that I can learn more about this over the next couple of months to be able to do Psalm 119 justice.