[b-hebrew] O'Connor-Length of Poetic Lines

Trevor Peterson 06PETERSON at cua.edu
Thu Jun 24 14:59:29 EDT 2004

>===== Original Message From dwashbur at nyx.net =====
>I was wondering about this as I read your analysis.  How likely or possible 
>it that poetic structure changed between the time of most BH poetry and the
>Qumran poem you analyzed?  If there was a lot of change, that would render
>O'Connor's approach useless for the Qumran poetry but perhaps useful for the
>BH poetry.

As Ken suggests toward the end of the excerpt (and O'Connor has confirmed this 
to me privately), the method, because it is intended to link poetic structure 
to the structure of the language in general, is best restricted to a 
particular dialect. O'Connor does not expect it to work as applied woodenly to 
Qumran material; rather, it would require a complete replication of the study, 
so that unique features of Qumran syntax were taken into account. This would 
include things like adjusting the line length, but the whole system would need 
to be re-evaluated for a different linguistic setting.

Personally, I think O'Connor's system has a lot to commend it. If nothing 
else, it should generally prove enlightening to work out its features on a BH 
poem for comparison purposes. BTW, although O'Connor has added a supplement in 
the later edition, I believe the main text remains unchanged from 1980. As 
such, it reflects some ideas that he no longer holds. I think it's safe to say 
that the basic approach remains intact in his current teaching, though.

Trevor Peterson

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