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date: 15 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Although virtually all other long narratives from the ancient world take the form of verse, biblical authors pioneered a prose style that, for reasons unknown, came to dominate ancient Hebrew narrative, relegating verse to nonnarrative genres. In other words, extended biblical Hebrew narrative always takes the form of prose, and biblical Hebrew poetry is nearly always nonnarrative. And yet, one finds authors and editors of the narratives dropping poems into the stories at key points, often because poetry provides literary resources unavailable in prose. By exploring both the form and function of these poetic insets, we may see the intentionality with which the ancient authors treated literary form and the crucial roles that nonnarrative poetic genres came to play in the biblical stories.

Keywords: Hebrew narrative, Hebrew poetry, verse, prose, epic, lyric, genre

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