Wednesday, 11/15: Conference paper session

Please join us on Wednesday, 11/15 at 4:30 pm in Swift 201 for the next meeting of the Hebrew Bible Workshop. We will welcome Dr. Sarah Yardney (PhD ’17), as well as Marshall Cunningham and Kelli Gardner, two PhD candidates in Hebrew Bible in the Divinity School. All will be presenting their papers for the upcoming SBL conference, and will appreciate input and constructive criticism. Stay tuned for more information!

Tuesday, Oct. 10th: Robert Holmstedt, “Parallelism, R.I.P— The Syntax of Biblical Hebrew Poetry”

*** Room change: the seminar will now meet in Swift 208 ***

Dear colleagues,

Please join the Hebrew Bible Workshop on Tuesday, October 10th at 12:30 pm in Swift 208 for Prof. Robert Holmstedt (Toronto), who will present his paper “Parallelism, R.I.P— The Syntax of Biblical Hebrew Poetry”:

“In typical scholarly fashion, a model that has been known to be a descriptive failure for a century continues to be taught to unsuspecting students of the Bible and used in commentaries to little good end. What is it about the poetic “parallelism” first described by Robert Lowth in the 18th century that makes it an affliction more unshakeable than the common cold? Michael O’Connor (whose 1980 opus, Hebrew Verse Structure, provides a compelling linguistically grounded description of the poetic line) has called the endurance of Lowthian parallelism a “horror” that wreaks havoc on lexical semantics and “is beyond the comprehension of any sensitive student of language.” In this study I offer a poetic convention grounded in widely attested grammatical structures to replace the unworkable parallelism, which we may now provide with a proper burial.”

Workshop attendees are encouraged 1. to read Professor Holmstedt’s paper ahead of time, and then 2. to prepare the following Psalms, which will be discussed in a seminar-type setting, with the paper in mind: Psalms 4, 23, 67, 84, 93, 108, 114, 121, 124, and 134.

Lunch will be served. Please RSVP to me at to receive a PDF of the paper if you are planning on attending.

Finally, you may be interested in attending a lecture by Prof. Holmstedt on the previous day (Monday the 9th) at Wheaton College, at the college’s Archaeology Lecture Series. His talk is entitled “Palaeography, History, and the Power of Naming: The World’s Oldest Alphabet is … Hebrew?”, and the topic will be Petrovich’s recent, controversial claims concerning the Hebrew language and the first alphabet. For more information, email

Looking forward to seeing everyone!