Solomon God and Sharon Ros e Walk into a Song

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SOLOMON GOD AND SHARON,ROSE WALK INTO A SONG,DIALOGUING POLYSEMY IN THE. SONG OF SONGS,DAVID M DALWOOD,AMBROSE UNIVERSITY,INTRODUCTION. On account of the ubiquitous manipulation of metaphor therein as. well as its lengthy history of interpretation the Song of Songs lends. itself particularly well to a study of how units at both the lexical and. discursive levels of language communicate distinct and potentially. conflicting meanings to readers However whereas previous. treatments of such polysemy in the Hebrew Bible have largely. focused on elements in the lexical domain at the expense of those. in the discursive domain this article outlines a cohesive model for. analyzing polysemy across both linguistic strata Situated within a. critique of the theoretical approaches adopted in earlier studies of. Hebrew polysemy the framework suggested here blends the her. meneutical insights of Paul Ricoeur with those available in critical. media studies the result is a narrower definition of polysemy as a. strictly denotative phenomenon which I further distinguish from. instances of polyvalency and double coding Following an extended. theoretical prolegomenon I apply this model to two intercon. nected case studies namely Song 5 2 6 and 5 7 foregrounding in. each instance a selection of salient differences that have emerged. amongst recent commentators concerning the referential content. of these passages Informed by this survey I contend that the pres. ence of terms with expansive semantic ranges contributes in a. cumulative fashion to the discernibly polysemous quality of both. these texts and by extension the Song as a cohesive discourse 1. 1 For the purposes of this paper I will not be engaging the question of. the Song s unity rather I proceed according to the working assumption. that it constitutes a semantically definable unit of cohesive text In this. respect I follow the understanding of cohesion presented by M A Halli. day and R Hasan Cohesion in English English Language Series 9 London. Longman 1976 For a recent discussion of the cohesion of the Song of. Songs using the theoretical lens of Hallidayan Systemic Functional Lin. 2 JOURNAL OF HEBREW SCRIPTURES,POLYSEMY POETRY AND DISCOURSE. An increasingly recognized object of study for interpreters of. Hebrew poetry 2 including the Song of Songs particularly 3 lexical. polysemy has entered the vocabulary of biblical scholars to describe. both a form of aesthetic ambiguity as well as a particular subcat. egory of wordplay Adele Berlin has given particularly forceful. expression to the former approach which draws significantly from. the theoretical frameworks delineated in the works of Umberto. Eco and Roman Jakobson 4 she argues that the multiplicity of po. tential interpretations available for such constructions as Ps 62 12. and Hab 3 3 is an essential product of their organization into par. allel lines In support of her position Berlin identifies a twofold. function for poetic parallelism contending that this device enables. a single line to facilitate the transmission of information communi. cated in another construction disambiguation whilst also sug. gesting further dissonant understandings of that same statement. polysemy 5 Relating this description to the observable terseness of. texts such as the Song 6 Berlin further recognizes a creativity in this. interplay of meaning insofar as it enables a poetic discourse to con. vey a range of distinct connotations with fewer linguistic elements. than would be necessary in more typically monosemous prose 7. Berlin s comments have particular import for my later analysis. of the denotative capacity of a discourse especially given their. contrast with the dominant tendency within recent biblical scholar. guistics see D M Dalwood A Text of Songs Some Observations. Regarding Cohesion and Texture in the Song of Songs JNSL 43 2017. 2 For recent approaches see e g G A Rendsburg Double Polysemy. in Genesis 49 6 and Job 3 6 CBQ 44 1982 48 51 D T Tsumura Pol. ysemy and Parallelism in Hab 1 8 9 ZAW 120 2008 194 203. 3 E g for Song 2 12 C H Gordon New Directions BASP 15. 1978 59 66 59 60 D Bergant The Song of Songs Berit Olam Col. legeville MN Liturgical Press 2001 29 n 2, 4 Cf L R Waugh The Poetic Function in the Theory of Roman. Jakobson Poetics Today 2 1980 57 82 73 citing U Eco The Role of the. Reader Explorations in the Semiotics of Texts Bloomington Indiana Univer. sity Press 1979, 5 A Berlin The Dynamics of Biblical Parallelism Bloomington Indiana.
University Press 1985 98 99,6 Cf ibid 5 6, 7 The effects of polysemy in terms of the economy of a discourse have. been treated from a psychological perspective by H Rabagliati and J. Snedeker The Truth about Chickens and Bats Ambiguity Avoidance. Distinguishes Types of Polysemy Psychological Science 24 2013 1354 60. Note however that ambiguity may enhance meaning in narrative texts as. well A Berlin Poetics and Interpretation of Biblical Narrative Winona Lake. IN Eisenbrauns 1994 53 For the applications of these observations to. the Song of Songs specifically see T Longman III Song of Songs NICOT. Grand Rapids MI Eerdmans 2001 10 J C Exum Song of Songs OTL. Louisville KY Westminster John Knox 2005 19,POLYSEMY IN THE SONG OF SONGS 3. ship to subsume treatments of polysemy under broader discussions. of Hebrew wordplay 8 Illustrative of the latter are the writings of. Wilfred G Watson and Susan E Gillingham Each understands. polysemy to be principally lexical and consequently classifies it. alongside literary phonological techniques such as assonance and. alliteration 9 Note for instance Watson s remark that polysemy. s imply implies that one and the same word can have several. meanings 10 Gillingham s comments on the phonologically similar. pairs justice bloodshed and righteousness,in Isa 5 are likewise telling she observes that. This sort of word play is often used for effect by the prophets. but it is also a recurrent feature in the psalms There are at least. five particular aspects of such word play assonance a form of. vowel repetition alliteration a form of consonant repetition. onomatopoeia where the sound of a word imitates its meaning. homonymy where words which are identical in sound are used. with different meanings and polysemy whereby the same word. is used with several meanings 11, Scott B Noegel develops his taxonomic approach along lines simi. lar to Gillingham s providing a tripartite classificatory index of the. major polysemous devices attested within the Hebrew Bible Dis. tinguishing between homonymous homographic and semantic. polysemy Noegel s study represents an attempt to redress the per. ceived terminological imprecision of previous analyses of Hebrew. wordplay To that end Noegel redefines such phenomena as poetic. acrostics and a biblical author s manipulation of bilingual terms. using the more linguistically precise categories of structural and. lexical polysemy respectively 12 Diminishing the theoretical value of. Noegel s work however is its marked degree of conceptual and. terminological overlap with existing literary analyses these include. for instance Roland E Murphy s delineation of form critical cate. 8 See for instance G A Rendsburg Double Polysemy in Proverbs. 31 19 in A Afsaruddin and A H Zahniser eds Humanism Culture and. Language in the Near East Studies in Honor of Georg Krotkoff Winona Lake. IN Eisenbrauns 1997 267 74 citing J M Sasson Wordplay in the. OT in G A Buttrick ed IDBSup Nashville Abingdon 1976 968 70. cf S B Noegel Word Play in Qoheleth JHS 7 2007 1 28. 9 W G Watson Classical Hebrew Poetry A Guide to Its Techniques. JSOTSup 26 Sheffield JSOT Press 1984 237 46 emphasis added. 10 Watson Classical Hebrew Poetry 237, 11 S E Gillingham The Poems and Psalms of the Hebrew Bible Oxford.
Bible Series Oxford Oxford University Press 1994 192 emphasis. 12 S B Noegel Polysemy in G Khan ed Encyclopedia of Hebrew. Language and Linguistics Leiden Boston Brill 2013 3 178 86 cf E L. Greenstein Wordplay Hebrew in D N Freedman ed ABD New. York Doubleday 1992 6 968 71,4 JOURNAL OF HEBREW SCRIPTURES. gories for the wisdom literature 13 Though not eliminating the value. of Noegel s study such overlap raises questions of justification and. interpretive necessity that Noegel only implicitly addresses In par. ticular one wonders whether Noegel s reclassification of the. above mentioned qualities of texts using the linguistic category of. polysemy is either consonant with the current theoretical literature on. polysemy as a linguistic phenomenon or necessary to clarify rather. than obscure outstanding interpretive difficulties for which exist. ing literary models do not effectively account, As might be expected from the foregoing review in the sec. ondary linguistics literature more generally polysemy largely falls. within the purview of lexical semantics being distinguished from. other features of language such as homonymy insofar as it pertains. specifically to the potential for a multiplicity of meanings to attach. to a single term whilst maintaining an identifiable relationship 14 In. polysemy s synchronic realization 15 the examination of which has. been the predominant focus of those biblical scholars cited here. the degree to which these meanings are associated at any one point. in time may be further characterized according to a gradient that. ranges from homonymous contrasts e g match a small stick with. a tip which ignites when scraped on a rough surface and match. contest in a game or sport to semantic complements e g in. 13 Compare for instance the definitions he provides for the Acrostic. Poem and the Alphabetizing Poem R E Murphy Wisdom Literature. Job Proverbs Ruth Canticles Ecclesiastes and Esther FOTL 13 Grand Rap. ids MI Eerdmans 1981 172 73, 14 B Nerlich and D D Clarke Polysemy and Flexibility Introduction. and Overview in B Nerlich et al eds Polysemy Flexible Patterns of. Meaning in Mind and Language Trends in Linguistics Studies and Mono. graphs 142 Berlin New York de Gruyter 2003 3 30 3 C Goddard. Semantic Analysis A Practical Analysis 2nd ed Oxford Textbooks in Lin. guistics Oxford Oxford University Press 2011 23 25. 15 By referring to synchrony and diachrony I am distinguishing. between the instantiation of a polysemic relation at a given temporal and. discursive point synchrony and the processes that conditioned the emer. gence of that state diachrony A Blank helpfully elaborates upon the. connection between the two although cautioning that there is no com. plete isomorphism between diachronic processes and synchronic states. he observes that the former has a particularly overt impact on the pro. duction of the latter in cases such as metaphoric polysemy which derives. in most cases from metaphor as a diachronic process Both are based on a. more or less salient similarity between two concepts that belong to differ. ent or even distant conceptual domains Polysemy in the Lexicon and in. Discourse in B Nerlich et al eds Polysemy Flexible Patterns of Meaning in. Mind and Language Trends in Linguistics Studies and Monographs 142. Berlin New York de Gruyter 2003 267 93 268 I suggest below that. a similar interface obtains on a more limited temporal scale in the act of. reading itself which inasmuch as its object is text in the Hallidayan sense. to which I alluded in n 1 is a diachronic process that generates syn. chronically polysemous meanings,POLYSEMY IN THE SONG OF SONGS 5. the case of record the physical object and the music 16 Alt. hough such synchronic analysis finds modest reflection in Noegel s. tripartite description of Hebrew polysemy and is deliberately. developed with some nuancing in Mois s Silva s treatment of lexi. cal semantics 17 conspicuously absent from the discussions sur. veyed above is an acknowledgement of this polysemous spectrum s. diachronic underpinnings Watson s monograph being the possible. exception 18 This gap in current biblical scholarship is perplexing. given the broad recognition amongst semanticists that the relation. ships between polysemic meanings most commonly emerge as a. result of connotations and metaphorical uses attaching to a term as. that term is employed within particular linguistic settings over time. besides generating instances of polysemy moreover these patterns. of usage may further serve to obfuscate the aforesaid relations. as conversational implicatures generating ad hoc ambiguities and. polysemies can become conventionalized or grammaticalized. over time and as the distant senses of a polysemous word. can at any time change status and generate new homonyms. that is the semantic link in the network of senses can become. obscured 19, By way of example note the attention devoted to polysemy s dia.
chronic dimensions in the work of Stephen Ullmann which Wat. son explicitly cites as forming the basis for his own understanding. of polysemy 20 as well as recent scholarly attempts to classify the. 16 For which including the above examples see Nerlich and Clarke. Polysemy and Flexibility 8 cf L R Waugh Iconicity in the Lexicon. Its Relevance for Morphology and Its Relation to Semantics in E. Haji ov et al eds Prague Linguistic Circle Papers vol 2 Amsterdam. John Benjamins 1996 251 84 267 68, 17 M Silva Biblical Words and Their Meaning An Introduction to Lexical. SOLOMON GOD AND SHARON ROSE WALK INTO A SONG DIALOGUING POLYSEMY IN THE SONG OF SONGS DAVID M DALWOOD AMBROSE UNIVERSITY INTRODUCTION On account of the ubiquitous manipulation of metaphor therein as

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