Studies in Hebrew Poetry

HEBREW 7601: Studies in Hebrew Poetry

Advanced study of specific poetic periods, figures, and/or topics involving extensive readings and discussions of appropriate primary and secondary materials.  Repeatable to a maximum of 9 cr hrs.

Sample Topic (1): The Lyrical Voice and the National Predicament This course involves a critical study of the development of modern Hebrew poetry, focusing on the elements of linguistic usage, artistic styles, and ideological stances. The Hebrew poets' involvement with the dramatic events of modern Jewish history has rendered much of their art the voice of a national consciousness. At the same time they display modernist sensitivities and lyrical individualism. Focusing on the tension between personal lyricism and the statement of the national predicament, we will examine the career of modern Hebrew poetry in terms of its development toward contemporary modernist poetics and its reflection of the plights of the Jews and the Israeli experience in the twentieth century. Through close readings and detailed textual analysis of works by prominent Hebrew poets, students will gain some awareness of the complexity of modern Hebrew literary culture, increase their linguistic competence, and sharpen their appreciation of modern poetical texts.

Sample Topic (2): The Book of Psalms. The purpose of this course is to study the psalms as religious lyrics, focusing mainly on their ideas, moods, syntactical turns, and literary devices. The main literary types of the psalms (Gattungen) will be explored with the aim of identifying the Sitz-im-Leben of each type: i.e., their proper setting and their traditionally fixed function in religious life. The form and content of the psalms will be analyzed within the context of the literary compositions of the same general pattern, emanating from earlier and contemporary cultures of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Ugarit.
Credit Hours