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Figures of speech

Figures of speech are found in prose as well as poetry, but are generally more frequent and intense in Hebrew poetry. 1. Similes A simile is a direct comparison between two things. Example – Amos 5:24 Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream. 2. Metapho

Hebrew Poetry

Three key characteristics of Hebrew poetry, which forms much of the prophetic writing, are terseness, parallelism, and use of figures of speech (see here). 1. Terseness Hebrew poetry is very concise and compact, using few words in short lines. There are few conjunctions (‘and’, ‘but’, etc.),

Genres within the prophets

A ‘genre’ is a type or style of writing. Contemporary examples would include novels, scientific text books, fairy tales, insurance documents, poems, tweets, and so on. The are several main genres with the Bible, including historical narrative, poetry, letters, law/instruction, and prophecy. We'

Six key questions about texts in the prophets

We need to ask a few key questions about every passage we come to in the prophetic books. What is the historical context?What is the biblical context?How is the prophet’s message presented? (see Genres within the Prophets, Hebrew Poetry and Figures of Speech)What main problems does the p

The CAST model of digital communication – Part 2

In the previous article, I began to introduce my CAST model of communication, and explained the first stage.In this article, I introduce the other three aspects of the model. 2. Audience The second aspect of the CAST model is the audience. The audience is the end of the process in one sense, but it

The CAST model of digital communication – Part 1: Concept

Previously, I introduced you to the concept of modes and multimodality. In this article, I want to develop these ideas to focus more explicitly on communicating through digital media. I am primarily thinking about this within the context of Christian mission and ministry, but these principles are no

A social semiotic theory of multimodal communication

  In the previous article, I considered the question ‘What is communication?’ In this article, I look at the roles of initiator and recipient in communication. Kress calls his communication theory a social semiotic theory of multimodal communication. It is a ‘social semiotic theory’ becaus

What is communication?

In part one of this series of articles, I looked at the meaning of the term ‘mode’ within communication theory. In this article, I introduce Gunther Kress's three fundamental assumptions about communication. We must consider an important question before we go any further: what is communication

Introducing Modes

In the first of a series of articles on digital communication theory, I introduce communication modes. This is based on lectures given at the Norwegian School of Theology, Oslo, and was first published on A mode of communication is a way of expressing meaning, through speaking, w

Media in a post-truth world – part 2

Why do people click so frequently on false stories? How do these lies spread so rapidly? It is certainly true that facts and non-facts circulate at a speed that would have been inconceivable before the Internet and social media. Most people do not have the means, or perhaps inclination, to fact chec

Media in a post-truth world – part 1

 This post was first published on Engaging Media, the website of the Lausanne Media Engagement Network. Oxford Dictionaries chose ‘post-truth’ as its Word of the Year for 2016. Editor Casper Grathwohl said, Fuelled by the rise of social media as a news source and a growing distrust of facts of

Despite present appearances, God is in control

I spent last week on the edge of Berlin teaching on the Bible and Culture course, as I’ve done for the last eight years. It’s a four-week programme for IFES (International Fellowship of Evangelical Students) staff and graduates from Europe and Eurasia. This year, we had 35 participants from the

Freedom Fighter: Amazing Grace

This is an old article of mine that was published on Culturewatch (which later became the Film & Bible Blog from Damaris) in 2007. I am gradually republishing many of my Culturewatch articles here, especially since the demise of Damaris Trust and its websites. What's prompted me to republish th

Old Testament Timelines

My Old Testament timelines are now available in five languages on Slideshare. If you spot any errors, please let me know! The two different chronologies for the patriarchs are because there are two significantly different ways of dating the Exodus. You'll need to look at the evidence and draw your

Discovering the brokenness of the world

I've just come across this fascinating and insightful quote by film critic Michael Chabon, in the introduction to Matt Soller Seitz's The Wes Anderson Collection, about the brokenness of the world: The world is so big, so complicated, so replete with marvels and surprises that it takes years for mos