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17326Re: SSNET: Christ - love & obey

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  • Ben Tupper
    Jun 6, 2014
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      Adventist churches frequently do a "responsive reading" as part of the liturgy -- the Bible passage just before the sermon.  Nearly always this is from a prepared script in the back of the hymnal, divided between regular and bold-face type.  My experience is that both the pulpit reader and the congregation often stumble through the lines -- partly, I think, because of the passages being unfamiliar texts in unfamiliar translations, often chopped and pasted from different source chapters.

      I am entranced by the idea of doing some KJV poetry in the ancient Hebrew manner, with the pulpit reader alternating with the congregation line by line antiphonally through the couplets of a Psalm.  This would not be possible reading from the printed KJV, difficult from any translation, even when the lines are set in more or less poetic form.  I think as an experiment I'll set a few of the favorite Psalms in a format especially structured for easy antiphonal reading and see if we can train our little congregation to do it effectively.  I think a dynamic rapid-fire reading of a Psalm, alternating the lines of the couplets antiphonally, would be a great introduction to the sermon and enhance the worship experience.  We have a pair of digital projectors directed toward large screens at the front of our sanctuary, so it would be relatively easy to project the verses for all to see.  Our congregation is accustomed to reading from the screens because we begin each worship service with a congregational reading of John 3:16,17, projected in large easy-to-read type on the screens.

      Ben Tupper  

      At 06:44 AM 6/5/2014, you wrote:

      I haven't attended enough Greek Orthodox services to know whether it is customarily but that is the only venue where I have observed antiphonal readings done by persons on opposite ends of the platform. I've mentioned it to elders in three Seventh-day Adventist congregations but haven't yet seen it tried in sabbath services.  Maybe it is because so few Seventh-day Adventists study what Ellen White called the culture of the voice anymore. It wouldn't have the same effect if electricly amplified.

      Roger Metzger
      On Jun 4, 2014 9:24 PM, "Joshua Pennerman" <josh643@...> wrote:
      Tony wrote:  Also, if you just set prose translation in poetic line format, you
      haven't really achieved poetry; you just have funny-looking prose.
      Hebrew poetry, while more translatable than many other languages'
      poetry, is still _not_ going to be easy to translate into something
      that sounds like poetic English.

      This seems to me like a gross misunderstanding of both Hebrew and English poetry.  More than half of the OT is actually poetry, easily distinguished from the prose sections.  It is the poetic sections which should be set in poetic form, not the prose.  "Sound" is a good determinator -- IF one has an ear for poetic expression.
      As for English -- Superficially, Emily Dickinson doesn't "sound" like Robinson Jeffers, and neither of them "sounds" like Shakespeare.  Poetry takes many forms and is characterized by much more than surface effects.  Underneath the various forms, there remains a characteristic "sound" to all good English poetry.  Take recordings of Robert Frost and Dylan Thomas reading their own poems, compare that with coffee house readings by some of the Beat Poets of the 1960s, and toss in a rendering of a Shakespeare play by a good Shakespearean actor -- a certain "sound" rings through them all, entirely apart from their surface forms.
      Hebrew poetry has a very specific form, very different from Hebrew prose, consistent over a thousand years -- from the Song of Exodus 15 to the last of the minor prophets,* which translates very nicely into one common form of English poetry -- the couplet.  The  basic Hebrew poem consists of couplets -- each consisting of a statement in the first line and a response in the second.  The response line may be either a contrast to or an affirmation and expansion of the statement made in the first.  Rhyme and meter are unimportant.  The statement - response form makes for a very good liturgical device -- the cantor sings the first line, the congregation the second.
      Thus, when Hebrew poetry is translated into English, if the form of the couplets is maintained, it makes a very nice English poem.  The statement-response characteristic presents a compact intensity which is much more expressive than more expanded forms.  
      *Carried over into the NT Greek, for example in Mary's song, the "Magnificat" Luke 1:46-56:
      My soul doth magnify the Lord, (statement)
         And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour (response)
      For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: (statement)
         for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. (response)

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