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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

On Biblical Poetry
Dobbs-Allsopp, F. W.

New York: Oxford University Press, 2015 pp. xxii + 575. £47.99

Description: Uniquely considering the characteristics of biblical Hebrew poetry beyond its currently best known feature, parallelism, On Biblical Poetry demonstrates the many interesting and valuable interpretations that yield from analyses of major facets of biblical verse, as well as careful attention to prosody—rhythm, lineation, and the like—and close reading. Through a series of programmatic essays, F.W. Dobbs-Allsopp argues that biblical poetry is, in most respects, just like any other verse tradition—and thus biblical poems should be read and interpreted like other poems. Using the same critical tools and kinds of guiding assumptions as traditional verse scholarship, this book also considers the historicity and cultural specificity that distinguishes the verse of the Bible. The literary and the historical, then, are in view throughout. Issues of orality, textuality, and literacy at the site of biblical poems are also probed extensively and there is a strong comparative orientation to much of the thinking in the volume.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Literature, Methods, Literary Approaches, Poetics

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Review by Benjamin D. Sommer
Published 1/26/2017
Citation: Benjamin D. Sommer, review of F. W. Dobbs-Allsopp, On Biblical Poetry, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2017).

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