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An Invitation to Biblical Poetry is an accessibly written introduction to biblical poetry that emphasizes the aesthetic dimensions of poems and their openness to varieties of context. It demonstrates the irreducible complexity of poetry as a verbal art and considers the intellectual work poems accomplish as they offer aesthetic experiences to people who read or hear them. Chapters walk the reader through some of the diverse ways biblical poems are organized through techniques of voicing, lineation, and form, and describe how the poems' figures are both culturally and historically bound and always dependent on later reception. The discussions consider examples from different texts of the Bible, including poems inset in prose narratives, prophecies, psalms, and wisdom literature. Each chapter ends with a reading of a psalm that offers an acute example of the dimension under discussion. Students and general readers are invited to richer and deeper readings of ancient poems and the subjects, problems, and convictions that occupy their imagination.
About the Author
Elaine James is Associate Professor of Old Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey. She studies the ancient literature of the Bible with particular attention to its aesthetic and ecological dimensions.