Category Archives: Poetic

Friday Phraseology: Acrostics


Acrostic. A poetic form where the initial letters of each line form a word, phrase, or alphabet. For example, Psalm 119 is structured around the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet (eight lines for each letter). Acrostics are sometimes thought to be mnemonic (memory) devices, but they are more readily viewed as literary or aesthetic devices whereby authors can use the constraints of the form (the acrostic itself) to contribute to the theme. In the case of Psalm 119, a *hymn in praise of *Torah, the author uses the twenty-two letters to show the total sufficiency of Torah.

Source: Arthur G. Patzia; Anthony J. Petrotta. Pocket Dictionary of Biblical Studies (p. 7). Kindle Edition.

 

Friday Phraseology: Chiasm


Chiasm: Derived from the Greek letter chi (which is shaped like a letter X), a rhetorical device whereby parallel lines of a text correspond in an X pattern, such as A-B-C-B’-A’ (in this case the center of the chiasm is C, and on either side line A will correspond to line A’ and so forth). For example, a chiastic pattern (without a C element) may be observed in Mark 2:27 and set out in the following fashion:

A: The sabbath was made

B: for humankind,

B’: and not humankind

A’: for the sabbath

The pattern can be as simple as a verse in Mark or as elaborate as a whole poem, a parable or a book. In using this device, an author can show both progression of thought and intensification of meaning. Chiasm is a way of “layering”

Source:

Arthur G. Patzia; Anthony J. Petrotta. Pocket Dictionary of Biblical Studies (pp. 24-25). Kindle Edition.