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"Like a Lone Bird on a Roof"

Animal Imagery and the Structure of Psalms

Tova L. Forti

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$29.95 | Paperback Edition
ISBN: 978-1-57506-965-4

128 pages
6" × 9"
2018

Critical Studies in the Hebrew Bible

"Like a Lone Bird on a Roof"

Animal Imagery and the Structure of Psalms

Tova L. Forti

In this volume, Tova Forti shows how investigation of the poetics of the animal kingdom can elucidate the effect metaphors exert on psalmodic theology. The focus herein on the faunal imagery in Psalms—the literary perception of the animals adduced and the structural and stylistic rhetorical features of the imagery—serves as a lens through which the reader can perceive the poetic dynamics and their impact upon and interaction with the psalm as a prayer.

 

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  • Table of Contents
In this volume, Tova Forti shows how investigation of the poetics of the animal kingdom can elucidate the effect metaphors exert on psalmodic theology. The focus herein on the faunal imagery in Psalms—the literary perception of the animals adduced and the structural and stylistic rhetorical features of the imagery—serves as a lens through which the reader can perceive the poetic dynamics and their impact upon and interaction with the psalm as a prayer.

Forti pays particular attention to the contextual meaning and cultural environment of animal imagery to show how faunal images are used in the formulation and communication of didactic truths and principles regarding human behavior. These depictions can occasionally function as imitato animalis by imbuing animals with human characteristics of language, thought, and empathy, animal life in order to illustrate basic moral precepts.

This volume focuses upon two principal poetical devices—refrains and secondary interpolations—in which animal imagery in the Psalms is often employed as a stage-setting device. A literary analysis of the structure of the psalms in which this faunal imagery is employed reveals the figurative and symbolic impact of this particular domain upon the poetic texture of each psalm. This methodology has diachronic consequences, demonstrating that both poetical devices may function as means of composition in the ongoing process of creating liturgy.

Tova L. Forti is Associate Professor in the Department of Bible Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the author of Animal Imagery in the Book of Proverbs.

Preface

Introduction

The Psalms as Liturgy

Imagery, Metaphor, and Simile

Synopsis of Research on Metaphors in the Psalms

The Focus of Investigation and Methodology

Chapter 1 Faunal Imagery in Psalmodic Refrains

Psalm 49:13, 21: A wisdom motif of human ignorance and the futility of wealth—בהמות ‘beasts’

Psalms 59:7, 15; 22:13–14, 17, 21–22; and 118:10–12: Animal imagery as representing the psalmist’s adversary

Psalm 59:7, 15: Wild-dog imagery to denote the psalmist’s enemy—כלב ‘dog’

Psalm 22:13–14, 17: Bulls, mighty ones of Bashan, lions, dogs, and wild oxen as metonyms for the psalmist’s adversaries—כלב ‘dog,’ פר ‘bull,’ אריה ‘lion’

Psalm 118:10–12: Bee imagery as denoting the psalmist’s enemies—דבורה ‘bee’

Chapter 2 Faunal Imagery as Secondary Interpolation

Proverbs 1:10–19

Psalm 84:4: Intimacy with God—צפור ‘bird’ and 'sparrow' דרור

Psalm 102:7–8: Desolation and isolation—קאת ‘great owl,’ כוס ‘owl,’ and צפור ‘bird’

Psalms 33:16–17 and 32:8–9: Wisdom motifs within theological contemplation—סוס ‘horse’ and פרד ‘mule’

Psalm 32:8–9 83

Conclusion

Faunal Imagery in Psalmodic Refrains

Faunal Imagery as Secondary Interpolation

Bibliography

Indexes

Index of Authors

Index of Scripture

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