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Chapter Summary

Ancient wisdom literature spiced its rhetoric with analogies and images inspired by different spheres of life. Those which are related to natural phenomena (climate, flora, and fauna) reflect the impact of such phenomena on a person's emotional and intellectual perception of the world. These images propose a comparison, explicit or implicit, between two disparate objects and challenge us to find the similarities between them. This introductory chapter focuses on the zoological, literary, and conceptual aspects of animal images in Proverbs. It relies on the existing assumptions of zoological investigations of the native fauna of the Syro-Palestinian region and on etymological comparisons with Semitic cognates. The book of Proverbs mentions many members of the animal kingdom. These include birds (sparrow, eagle/vulture, brook-raven), insects (ant, locust), reptiles (serpent, viper), wild mammals (bear, lion, pig, dog, deer, rock-cony), domesticated animals (ox, goat, donkey, horse), and animals whose identification is problematic.

Keywords: birds; climate; fauna; flora; insects; lion; zoological investigations



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