A study of rhetorical devices in Ugaritic verse by Dickens, Owen Pruett

By Dickens, Owen Pruett

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Recent Chapter Two: S t u d i e s of H e b r e w Verse Introduction When the texts from Ugarit were first deciphered almost sixty years ago scholars immediately recognized affinities between Ugaritic and Biblical Hebrew. These similarities include common vocabulary, grammatical structure, and verse structure. These affinities make studies of biblical verse especially important for the present investigation of rhetorical devices in Ugaritic. For this reason the present chapter will review several recent studies of biblical verse which are significant for the study of Ugaritic.

About a decade later U. ). Cassuto described it as "a kind of established convention that when a given word occurred in the first hemistich of a verse, it drew after, in the second hemistich, a certain other word of equivalent meaning" (Cassuto 1975a, 43). A monograph on early biblical verse published by S. Gevirtz in 1963 advanced the idea that mastery of word-pairs constituted one of the basic skills in the repertoire of Canaanite poets, one of the "essentials of his craft" (Gevirtz 1963, 11).

Perhaps due to the uncertainties concerning meter, some regard word-pairs as the single most significant factor in Canaanite verse. For these, the poets' use of "fixed" word-pairs is the primary feature which defines Ugaritic verse. L. Ginsberg was the first to observe the phenomenon, which he defined as, "certain fixed pairs of synonyms that recur repeatedly, and as a rule in the same order, in these 27 texts and (or) are shown by their presence in Hebrew poetry as well to have belonged to the regular stock-in-trade of Canaanite poets" (Ginsberg 1936, 172).

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