Proverbs and the limits of poetry /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Vayntrub, Jacqueline Eliza, author.
Ann Arbor : ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, 2015
Description:1 electronic resource (398 pages)
Format: E-Resource Dissertations
Local Note:School code: 0330
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Other authors / contributors:University of Chicago. degree granting institution.
Notes:Advisors: Dennis Pardee Committee members: Simeon Chavel; David Schloen.
This item is not available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses.
Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 77-02(E), Section: A.
Summary:This study investigates how successive generations of biblical scholarship from the middle ages to the present attempted to characterize biblical poetry as a distinct category of literary expression. The study demonstrates how each generation of scholarship defined biblical poetry by shifting its theoretical lens to focus on a new essential characteristic of this mode of expression. As this theoretical lens moved its focus from the audience to author or to the work itself to locate the essence of poetry and thus the ideal point of its analysis, the Biblical Hebrew term mɔšɔl was identified as a native term for this essence. This study argues that although Biblical Hebrew mɔšɔl was incompatible with generic categories corresponding to an idea of 'poetry' and could not find stable characterization within such a theoretical framework, mɔšɔl was nevertheless understood as that which defines the category 'poetry' itself. The study argues that the Book of Proverbs and its rubric mɔsɔl resist generic description because these theories maintain fidelity to a discernible and distinct category of 'poetry' which is alien to the text. The study examines mɔšɔl as it is presented by the biblical materials themselves, demonstrating that mɔšɔl outside of Proverbs is in fact a speech event presented as being performed by a speaker in the text. Applying insights from folklore studies, oral poetics, and speech-act theory, the study concludes that the representation of mɔšɔl as a performance in the text should be the central point of analysis. The entire system of communication should be examined to determine the meaning of these represented speech events, including the speaker, addressee, message, the social context, and the metalinguistic code through which the message passes. The study presents case studies of mɔšɔl as a speech event staged in the text in Num 23-24, Is 14, and 1 Sam 24, and offers a working description of the mɔšɔl performance and the discourse it employs. Finally, the study brings this insight of mɔšɔl as speech event back to the Book of Proverbs, a collection of decontextualized performances. Here it is argued that while outside of Proverbs a mimetically represented speaker bears the demarcation of the mɔšɔl as a textually flattened speech event, in Proverbs the medium of the text itself becomes the speaker of mɔšɔl.