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Poetry Inspirational & Religious

Oral Formulaic Language in the Biblical Psalms

by (author) Robert Culley

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Dec 2018
Inspirational & Religious, Poetry, Language Study, Literature & the Arts, Christian, Semiotics & Theory
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    Publish Date
    Dec 2018
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In Oral Formulaic Language in the Biblical Psalms, Robert C. Culley discusses dynamics involved in oral composition of poetry, particularly regarding Biblical poetry, including the characteristic of parallelism, both as a composition device and as a framework within which other compositional aids would be necessary for a poet “writing” orally. Formulas, together with such devices as standard word-pairs, aided poets in composing regular lines within a literary tradition whose primary characteristic was parallelism of ideas. “Poets use formulas to build lines,” Culley explains; “the line and the colon, of which the line generally has two, are the most common formal divisions of Hebrew poetry to which possible formulas and formulaic phrases would conform.”

About the author

Robert C. Culley (1932-2013) lectured in Old Testament at Knox College, 1963-64. In 1964, he was appointed Lecturer, and then the following year, Assistant Professor, at McGill University. He became a full professor in 1978 and he retired in 1996.

Robert Culley's profile page