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date: 13 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines six poetic books, under the headings of liturgical poetry (Psalms, Lamentations), dramatic poetry (Job, Song), and didactic poetry (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes). It assesses, first, the particular features of all biblical poetry, in terms of style and formal structures, and, second, the reasons for ascribing these six books as postexilic works. Each book is then discussed in detail. Particular attention is paid to their poetic style and structures, to their compilation as a whole, and to their reception history: the latter in particular testifies to an ongoing “performative” potential, whether for the synagogue, church, classroom, theatre, concert hall, or as a work of art. The chapter concludes that each book shares several poetic features in common, but what really unites them is their detachment from any single spatial or temporal setting, each being “timeless” as literature and so “universal” in use.

Keywords: liturgical poetry, performance poetry, didactic poetry, reception history, Psalms, Lamentations, Job, Song, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes

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