Adele Berlin on “Perceptibility” of Parallelism

I recently purchased Adele Berlin’s Poetics and Interpretation of Biblical Narrative and was reminded of her interesting words on biblical parallelism. For fun, I thought I’d repost this from a few years back.


The Reformed Reader

I haven’t posted in a while – partly due to my little jaunt to Kauai and back – so I thought I’d dive back in with a great paragraph I read by Adele Berlin in her book The Dynamics of Biblical Parallelism. In her linguistic description of the phenomena of parallelism in poetry Berlin notes a problem: “In order for parallelism to serve the poetic function – to focus on the message for its own sake – it must be perceptible. . . . But since perceptibility is to some extent subjective, it is never easy to decide what is perceptible and why or how it is perceived” (Dynamics, pg. 130).

Berlin then has a very intriguing paragraph on “perceptibility” and how it relates to interest and informativity. While I haven’t thought too much about how this might tie in with the perspicuity of scripture, there might…

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