Quote:'In the days before the written word became generally available, when books had a mystique attached to them which we can no longer imagine, and when the spoken word was almost the sole means of teaching and mass communication, it was esseential for a teacher so to present his teachings that they would be clearly grasped and remembered. This required of a teacher that he was both poet and storyteller, and there can be little doubt that Jesus was exceedingly accomplished in both media. Most of all perhaps. he was a poet.
The conventions of Hebrew poetry required ideas to rhyme, not just word-endings. Thus Hebrew poetry survives translation essentially intact. All the books of the New Testament were written in that Greek which was the lingua franca of the Eastern Roman Empire. Doubtless Jesus was bilingual to some degree, but his teachings were given in his native Aramaic, and everything that is recorded as being his words is a translation from an Aramaic original. Such is the nature of Hebrew poetry, however, that its poetic form remains essentially intact. Hebrew poetry relied on the repetition of stressed syllables in each line (rhythm); but it is the rhyming of ideas, or, more correctly parallelism, which makes it possible for us to identify what we may reasonably describe as the 'Poems of Jesus'. In his book bearing that name, [Dom Robert] Petitpierre identified almost two hundred poetically constructed teachings in the Gospels.'
'Jesus - Essential Readings' edited and introduced by Anthony Duncan, 1986, Crucible, Thorsons Publishing Group. ISBN 0-85030-555-1
ISBN 0-85030-395-8 Pbk