The Written Record of the Spoken Word of God: Oral Verse in Religious Literature


  • Nicholas Sykes


Through the work of such scholars as William S. Graham we are coming to a greater appreciation of the oral aspects of scripture in religious studies. I will go further and argue for a new view of oral verse in opposition to written prose. Centrally, I will talk about the Bible; but I will also refer to the Koran, the scriptures of the Ancient Near East, India and China and Aboriginal song. I will argue against the orthodox view that a significant minority of the Bible is written in poetry and the rest in prose. Instead I will give arguments and evidence that the whole of the Old and New Testaments (except parts of Luke and perhaps Matthew) are oral verse.