Hebrew Poetry in the Book of Mormon: Part I
by Angela M. Crowell
We have in the Book of Mormon an ancient Semitic treasure--a masterpiece of literary style that has yet to reach its zenith in appreciation and acclaim. We are now unraveling the mystery of its language structure and are able to unveil it as an impressive example of Hebraic artistry. Its future contribution to Biblical research will yet reveal the genius of its elegant poetic structures.
There are two main purposes to this article: 1) to present illustrations of various types of Hebrew poetry in the Book of Mormon that have been identified by Biblical scholars and; 2) to show that current Biblical research continues to confirm the validity of the Hebraic language structure of the Book of Mormon. Knowledge of the poetic structure of the Book of Mormon calls attention to the great beauty of its verse and aids our understanding of its message.
In The Forms of Hebrew Poetry, author George Buchanan Gray points out that in the past, failure to understand the structure of Hebrew poetry has "frequently led to misinterpretation of Scripture" (1972:3). Therefore, an understanding of the forms of Hebrew poetry becomes a valuable, if not necessary, means to correct interpretation.
David Noel Freedman explains in his book Pottery, Poetry and Prophecy (1980) that in the ancient Near East, poetry was the traditional means of expressing and transmitting religious experience.