The paucity of material, which has limited the study of Aramaic for too long, is gradually being alleviated. An ever growing body of well-edited texts is being made available to the scholarly world. These publications have provoked a number of important and penetrating linguistical and grammatical studies. Generally, however, corresponding literary studies of these texts are still lacking. The present work is an attempt to add a literary approach to the earlier analyses.
The study deals with Aramaic poetry of the period between c. 100 B.C.E. and c. 600 C.E. The discussion of the textual material is organized in a number of levels, one superimposed upon the other. The basis is formed by a close exegetical and literary reading of the poems to elucidate essential elements of content, style and form. Particular attention is paid to structure and composi tion as a function of the content of the poems, and to the use made by the poets of stylistic devices as structural elements.