This article focused on a single proverb, viz. Proverbs 17:16. The syntax and stylistic features
were analysed to demonstrate the extreme polyvalence that can characterise terse aphorisms.
Fifteen readings were examined and evaluated, resulting in the distillation of four equally
valid clusters of meaning. This informed the argument that the terseness of aphorisms is conducive
to multiple legitimate interpretations which constitute the ‘readings’.
were considered in terms of intentionality and text-immanence
in detailed exegesis. It was
concluded that a combination of sophisticated linguistics and stylistic
sensitivity in proverb
exegesis can, in the sense of Herderian
and Gunkelian ‘Einfühlung’
in minutiae, uncover a
richness in ostensibly simple texts – which is to be distinguished from traditional methods
claiming to probe ‘under the surface’.