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Biblical Repetition in Story Telling


Video from Biblical Culture


"For more on repetition, see P. Joüon & T. Muraoka “A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew” (Rome: 2006), § 88 J. Rabbi Dr. David Moster is the director of the Institute of Biblical Culture and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. He is the author of "Etrog: How a Chinese Fruit Became a Jewish Symbol" and two Biblical Hebrew reference cards currently in press. He received his PhD in Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) from Bar-Ilan University in Israel, and holds degrees in Bible, Education, and Rabbinics from Yeshiva University and New York University Paintings: Franz Kadlik Drei Engel - 3 Angels; J. Guido Reni - Joseph and Potiphar's Wife; James Jacques Joseph Tissot - Moses Adores God in the Burning Bush; José Echenagusia Errazquin - Samson and Delilah" from video introduction


The Importance of Repetition in the Bible

Have you noticed that the Bible often repeats itself? I remember noticing as a teenager that I kept running into the same phrases, and even whole stories, as I made my way through the Scriptures. I didn't understand why the Bible contained so many examples of repetition, but even as a young man, I felt like there must be a reason for it -- a purpose of some kind.


Repetition as a Storytelling Tool

The reality is that repetition has been a key tool used by writers and thinkers for thousands of years. Perhaps the most famous example in the past century was the "I Have a Dream" speech from Martin Luther King, Jr. Look at this excerpt to see what I mean:


And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!


Today, repetition is more popular than ever thanks to the rise of marketing campaigns. When I say "I'm lovin' it" or "Just do ​it," for example, you know exactly what I mean. We refer to this as branding or advertising, but it's really just a concentrated form of repetition. Hearing the same thing over and over helps you remember it and can build associations with a product or idea.


So here's what I want you to remember from this article: Looking for repetition is a key tool for studying God's Word.


As we explore the use of repetition in the Bible, we can see two distinct types of repeated text: large chunks and small chunks.." from the article: The Importance of Repetition in the Bible


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