'Literary Features': Fact or Fiction?


This research group aims at providing a forum for scholars with an interest in “literary features” in the Hebrew Bible and other ancient Near Eastern texts. Features include widely found phenomena such as alliteration and paronomasia, but also the typical biblical parallelismus membrorum and other structurally embedded features such as chiasm and inclusio. In addition, also devices that exploit the double or multiple meanings of words are included, such as Janus parallelism and double entendre. The group is interested in the functionality of all of these features in textual corpora of the ancient Near East and in particular the Hebrew Bible. We welcome a broad variety of methodological approaches to tackle the following questions: what does a particular feature do in a text (from as small as a line to a large corpus of texts)? How does it affect the reading experience? How does it shape the meaning of a text? And finally, how do the feature, the reader, and the text produce meaning together?


Hebrew Bible, Metaphor, Metonymy, Literary, Cognitive Linguistics, Interpretation, Blending


Elizabeth Hayes

Karolien Vermeulen

Member Area

Wuppertal 2021 Call for Papers

Navigating Overlapping Conceptual Spaces

Understanding a text starts with understanding how reading as a process works. One of the issues in this process is the assessment of overlapping conceptual spaces. As an example, one can think of the temple as a material (textual?) anchor for complex projections. There is the actual temple in Jerusalem (a geographical space), the temple service (profane to holy), and the mental sacred space (where both are blended and stored for later use). For a first session, we invite proposals that assess how to navigate overlapping conceptual spaces, such as the aforementioned temple, in the biblical text. Spaces can be but are not limited to sacred space, domestic space, urban space, and landmarks. How do these conceptual construals affect the reading process? Which features in the text may assist the reader in identifying and understanding the overlaps? What is the role of these conceptual spaces in terms of meaning making, both for an ancient and a contemporary audience? Approaches can include cognitive studies, literary studies, spatial studies, as well as any other approach that sheds light on how readers make sense of overlapping conceptual spaces. 

A second session will be open to all those who address the stylistics of biblical or related ancient Near Eastern texts, as described in the unit’s program. Proposals should include a research question, methodology or broader theoretical framework, and (preliminary) findings.