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Let Me See Your Form: Seeking Poetic Structure in the Song of Songs (Studies in Judaism)
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This study tackles the problem of the Song of Song's structure by beginning at the bottom, the microstructure of the Song, rather than at the top. By employing a new type of rhetorical method, Professor Roberts defines each of the minimal structural units of the Song by identifying the formal poetic features that mark its opening and closing, coupled with the poetic features that create cohesion within it. Moving up the Song's structural ladder, larger units are identified with the same technique. While this study does not identify an overall structure, it does demonstrate how recognition of these formal structuring devices can help the interpreter define the structural units of the Song with far greater precision.
The final chapter presents a catalog of these formal, poetic features that typically mark the opening and closure of structural units in the Song, as well as those that effect cohesion. Within is a catalog that can be refined and enlarged by application of the same method to other poetic texts. Other exegetical insights abound. Professor Roberts demonstrates a more highly structured pattern of the wasfs than has been recognized heretofore, and proposes a new interpretation of the adjuration refrain. He identifies a type of phonological anacrusis employed numerous times in the Song, and addresses almost every text-critical issue in the Song, many of which are resolved by attention to poetic structuring devices.