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date: 29 July 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The border shared by oral-compositional sensibilities and written libretto is beautifully exemplified by the Historical Books of the Hebrew Bible. Some of the pieces in this corpus such as Judges 5 are characterized by formulaic language, a mark of oral composition, and imagine settings for extemporaneous performance. The Historical Books offer numerous examples of narrative variants, alternate versions of comparable content, another indication of oral traditional style. On the other hand, the Historical Books frequently allude to written documents and seem to valorize letters, decrees, chronicles, and examples of monumental writing. These books are thus especially informative about attitudes to writing even while preserving and showing appreciation for oral style material. Reflecting upon scribal elites, their relationship to writing, and their attitudes to oral and written media relates to the recollection and creation of history itself and to the processes of cultural construction.

Keywords: orality, writing, historiography, tradition, texture, paradigm, formula, repetition, genre, letters

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