Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Was Jesus a Poet?

Jesus reciting one of his most famous works, 
'Blessed are the Poor in Spirit'
Painting by Henrik Olrik
Another answer from my 'Quora ministry':

Q: Was Jesus a Poet ? If yes, how good was he ?

A: Yes, Jesus was most definitely a poet! He certainly had the eye and soul of a poet in weaving the wild flowers that God clothed so grandly and the sparrows ‘not one of [whom] will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care’ into his teaching.

But more to the point, in common with some other ancient teachers and the Israelite prophets, much of Jesus’ teaching is cast in poetic form. Scholars have found that when they reverse-translate Jesus’ sayings back to the original Aramaic (Jesus’ native tongue) they are almost all poetry. This made it easier for the crowds to remember. The scholar Henry Wansbrough says that in Matthew especially, “the rhythm of the sayings is beautifully balanced, often with a neat double opposition (‘grapes from thorns or figs from thistles’ in Matt. 7.16; ‘the harvest is rich but the laborers are few’ Matt. 9.37).” 

This statement by C. E. Schenk was made in the 1920s but is even more true today:
When one comes to the words of Jesus he discovers that in a very true sense His speech answers to the requirements for Hebrew poetry. Examples of synonymous, antithetic, synthetic and causal parallelism are the rule rather than the exception in the utterances of Jesus. For the synonymous form see Matthew 10:24; for the antithetic see Luke 6:41; for the synthetic and causal forms see Luke 9:23 and Matthew 6:7. Not alone are these forms of Hebrew poetry found in the words of Jesus, but also the more involved and sustained poetic utterances (Luke 7:31-32). 

How good was he? Well, 2000 years later people are still reciting his stuff...

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