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The Messages of the Poets


The Book of Job is one of the great masterpieces of world literature. No other work has come down to us from Hebrew antiquity that makes so strong an appeal to modern man by the problems fearlessly presented in it and its manner of approach to their solution. It is impossible to read the poem, even in a prose translation, without being impressed with its beauty of style, its grandeur of thought, and its deep moral earnestness.

Canticles, too, holds a unique place among the books of the Bible. It is manifestly not of a religious nature, in the ordinary sense of the word; and it does not, like Esther, deal with Israel, the people of Yahweh. Yet its position in the canon of Scripture has naturally led to various attempts to find in it a religious meaning, or at least what may be deemed a worthy moral purpose. Schmidt believes this is a mistake of flawed criticism, for the poems are to be taken as they are: an anthology of love lyrics, springing from the poet’s experience, and describing, with much charm and delicacy, the frankly sensuous and somewhat unconventional, yet none the less genuine, love of man and woman.

In The Messages of the Poets, Nathaniel Schmidt paraphrases and then analyzes the ethical and religious significance of Job and Canticles. Schmidt then explores 30 additional poems found in the Old Testament. Each poem is translated, a set of notes is supplied, and an exposition is given.

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

The present volume goes forth to a good service. It will enliven interest in biblical poetry. Scholars may have a difference of opinion on some of the primitive forms, but the impression created in the mind of the English reader by the literary ability of the religious poets of Israel will be beneficial in many ways.

Biblical World

  • Title: The Messages of the Poets
  • Author: Nathaniel Schmidt
  • Publisher: Charles Scribner’s Sons
  • Publication Date: 1911
  • Pages: 415

Nathaniel Schmidt (1862–1939) was professor of Semitic languages and literatures at Colgate University from 1888 to 1896 and later held the same position at Cornell University from 1896 to 1932. His numerous works include The Coming Religion, Ecclesiasticus, The Original Language of the Parables of Enoch, and Biblical Criticism and Theological Belief.