'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?


(Cognitive) Stylistics, Hebrew BibleCognitive Linguistics, Literary Approaches, Interpretation

Current Term:



Elizabeth Hayes

Fuller Theological Seminary 

Karolien Vermeulen

University of Antwerp 

Member Area

Sofia 2024 Call for Papers

For the EABS 2024 meeting in Sofia, the unit Literary Features is organizing two sessions. One session focuses on the concept of prototypes. Prototypes are central examples of a particular category. “Our cognitive system for categorization does not promote clear-cut, in-or-out categories, but instead organizes elements in a radial structure: from core, central examples outwards to poorer, more peripheral ones” (Gibbons and Whiteley 2018: 177). Experience, socio-cultural elements and context more generally influence the way in which prototypes are structured. Papers should apply the proposed concept preferably to the Book of Judges, although proposals that address prototypes in relation to other biblical books are welcome as well. Topics can include but are not limited to lexical semantic categorization as well as social, gender, genre and power categories.  In addition, we invite papers for an open session that addresses stylistic and literary issues in particular biblical texts or the (Hebrew) Bible as a whole. For guidelines, see the general description of the research group. If in doubt, feel free to contact the chairs at Elizabeth Hayes or Karolien Vermeulen.