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MENAHEM HARAN, The Graded Numerical Sequence and the Phenomenon of "Automatism" in Biblical Poetry

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Chapter Summary

The pattern of the graded numerical sequence in the Bible has several manifestations. Its basic form is the graded numerical phrase, which consists of a contiguous pair of consecutive numbers in ascending order. Numerical phrases occur frequently in texts of Semitic and non-Semitic languages from the ancient Near East, as well as in classical Greek and the New Testament. In as much as the graded numerical phrase in the Bible is actually just a particular form of the fixed word-pair, it follows that in the graded numerical verse as well, like in every verse which contains a broken up pair of words, manifestations of poetic automatism are likely to appear, i.e. that the writer's intention be restricted to just one of the two numbers, while the other number is brought in as a pendant of the first by the force of parallelism.

Keywords: Bible; graded numerical sequence; non-Semitic languages; numerical phrases; poetic automatism; Semitic languages

10.1163/9789004275454_017
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