Insights: The Newsletter of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship


Bible Studies, Old Testament Studies, Old Testament dates, biblical poetry, acrostic poems


Some biblical poetry is written using acrostics, meaning that each stanza or verse (or sometimes each half verse) begins with a different letter of the alphabet in a specific sequence, usually alphabetic. Acrostics are found in the books of Psalms, Proverbs, and Lamentations. Biblical scholars, believing that the order of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet was established sometime after the sixth century B.C., have used such acrostics to assert that these books of the Bible were composed after 600 B.C. They have suggested that these books are from postexilic times, that is, after the Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity.