the chicken(poetry) or the egg(prose)?

Bryan Rocine 596547 at
Thu Sep 3 18:21:22 EDT 1998

waddaya think?

For most of us prose is "regular talk"(however careful) and poetry is sort
of a marked use of language, sometimes downright strange.  We learn prose
first and read it most.  We think of poetry as the more formal and special.
the opposite be in some ways true in the language of the Hebrew Bible?  I
know poetry has the rhythm and the heavier concentration of the clever
devices of parallelism, terracing, inclusio, etc.  But it has the freer
variation in use of verb forms.  It has the more abbreviated style of
colloquial speech.  Prose is the more
"convention-driven" when it comes to the arrangement and function of clause
types.  Poetry probably came first, right?  And then came prose as a new
special literary dialect.  Didn't the cultures surrounding Israel record
their national literatures in poetry?  Aren't certain poems in the HB
considered the oldest portions of the corpus?  And so, by recording their
chronicle in prose, might we not infer that Israel actually
(artificially?)created a fresh and therefore strong convention?  To the
ancient's ear, might not the prose have been the more formal sounding?


B. M. Rocine
Associate Pastor
Living Word Church
6101 Court St. Rd.
Syracuse, NY 13208


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