Understanding the literary structures of Acrostic Psalms : an analysis of selected poems

Choi, Junho (2013-12)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: By means of literary, linguistic and comparative literary approaches, this study examines the literary structure of the alphabetical acrostic poems in the Psalms. First, a literary approach is used to analyze the form and content of each alphabetical acrostic poem to show that the literary structure of the poems is varied. Selected Psalms 9-10, 111 and 112 are translated from the Hebrew and compared to ancient Near Eastern languages especially Akkadian and Ugaritic. Second, by means of linguistic approaches, the literary structure of each poem is determined on both micro and macro levels using the researcher’s own translations of these psalms. Furthermore, a comparative literary approach is employed to compare the forms of ancient Near Eastern acrostics, in particular Akkadian, Egyptian and Ugaritic poems, to Hebrew acrostics. The analysis reveals both similarities with other ancient Near Eastern forms as well as the uniqueness of the Hebrew alphabetical acrostic poems. Both linguistic and literary insights are used to determine the relationship between the different forms. The findings suggest that the alphabetical acrostic poems were probably written around or after 1000 B.C.E. since the ancient Near Eastern poems were written before 1000 B.C.E. The unique 22-line form of the Hebrew alphabetical acrostics also indicates that Hebrew thought was distinct from what can be observed in other ancient Near Eastern texts. On the basis of this research, a conclusion is reached and suggestions for future research are made.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Deur literêre, linguistiese en vergelykende literêre benaderings ondersoek hierdie studie die literêre struktuur van die alfabetiese akrostiese gedigte in die Psalms. Eerstens word ‘n literêre benadering gebruik om die vorm en inhoud van elke alfabetiese lettervers te ontleed om aan te toon dat die literêre struktuur van die gedigte verskillend is. Die gekose Psalms 9-10, 111 en 112 word uit die Hebreeus vertaal en in vergelyking met die Ou-Nabye-Oosterse tale, veral Akkadiese en Ugarities, bespreek. Tweedens, deur linguistiese benaderings, word die literêre struktuur van elke gedig op beide mikro-en makro vlakke bepaal deur gebruik te maak van die navorser se eie vertalings van hierdie psalms. Verder, word ‘n vergelykende literêre benadering aangewend om die vorms van die Ou-Nabye- Oosterse akrostiese gedigte, in die besonder Akkadies, Egiptiese en Ugaritiese gedigte, met Hebreeuse akrostiese gedigte te vergelyk. Die ontleding toon die ooreenkomste met ander antieke Nabye- Oosterse vorms sowel as die uniekheid van die Hebreeuse alfabetiese akrostiese gedigte. Beide linguistiese en literêre insigte word gebruik om die verhouding tussen die verskillende vorms te bepaal. Die bevindinge dui daarop dat die alfabetiese akrostiese gedigte waarskynlik geskryf is rondom of later as 1000 vC, angesien die antieke Nabye-Oosterse gedigte voor 1000 vC geskryf is. Die unieke 22-reël vorm van die Hebreeuse alfabetiese akrostiese gedigte dui ook aan dat die Hebreeuse denke te onderskei is van wat in ander antieke Nabye-Oosterse tekste gereflekteer word. Gebaseer op hierdie navorsing, word tot ‘n gevolgtrekking gekom, en word voorstelle vir toekomstige navorsing gemaak.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/85583
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