Sunday, November 19, 2017

Allusive Soundplay in the Hebrew Bible

From Jonathan Kline, "What ultimately underlies the biblical writers' use of allusive paronomasia to express their conceptions about God and his relationship to humanity is a belief in the power of language that permeated the world in which the Bible arose. On the broadest level, then, by focusing on the way the biblical writers used allusive paronomasia to harness language to great exegetical effect, my intention has been to draw attention to how language was conceived of in ancient Israel. In particular, the examples I have discussed in this book--which reflect the ancient Israelite scribes' view that sounds, the smallest units of linguistic expression, have the power to reveal the significance of the past, present, and future--suggest that at least some of the biblical writers viewed language per se not as a merely human phenomenon but as expressive of the character, an indeed the voice, of God, as well as of the destiny of humanity. They apparently also considered the voice of God to be able to express itself in terms of an ever-evolving tradition, one that was always rooted in the past but that could develop fresh insights (that might be more or less continuous with early ones) in response to new circumstances."

Jonathan G. Kline, Allusive Soundplay in the Hebrew Bible, Ancient Israel and Its Literature 28 (Atlanta, GA: SBL Press, 2016), 126-127