Metathesis in the Hebrew Bible#

Wordplay as a Literary and Exegetical Device#

A new publication by Professor Isaac Kalimi, member of the Philosophy, theology and religious studies of Academia Europaea. Professor Dr. Isaac Kalimi is the worldwide leading biblical scholar, historian and Judaist. He has published numerous books and articles in English, German, Hebrew and Polish.

About the Book#

Why did the biblical writers choose the specific words they did? The book by Isaac Kalimi investigates this question by exploring the use of literary-stylistic metathesis in the Hebrew Bible.

Metathesis in the Hebrew Bible first discusses the related phenomena of linguistic metathesis, in which letters or sounds are unintentionally inverted during the historical development of a language, and textual metathesis, in which the letters of a word are accidentally inverted during the transmission of a text. The discussion then moves on to the widespread use of literary-stylistic metathesis in the Hebrew Bible, in which two or more words that use the same letters in opposite orders are deliberately juxtaposed within a sentence.

The book also demonstrates that literary metathesis is not limited to the Hebrew Bible but that it also appears in post-biblical Jewish Hebrew compositions, such as The Wisdom of Ben Sira and the rabbinic literature. This leads to the conclusion that the use of this literary tool by the rabbis in the midrashic literature is not a late, artificial approach to Scripture but rather one that has deep roots in the biblical texts themselves and that continued to develop in the writings of the Second Temple period and in later Jewish writings.

About the author#

Isaac Kalimi (Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem) is Gutenberg-Research University-Professor in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies and Ancient Israelite History, and Fellow of the Gutenberg Forschungskolleg at Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Foreign Member of the Belgian Royal Academy for Overseas Sciences, and Honorary Member of the Scandinavian Society for Iranian Studies. He has published numerous books and articles in biblical studies, ancient Israelite history and historiography, and rabbinic literature and thought.

Publisher: Hendrickson Publishers
ISBN number: 978-1-68307-179-2
Year of publication: 2018

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