POET (Gr. poiētēs, a maker). In Acts.17.28 Paul quotes from Phaenomena, 5, by the Greek poet Aratus (c. 270 b.c.) of Soli in Cilicia. A similar phrase occurs in the Hymn to Zeus, by the Stoic philosopher Cleanthes (300-220), who taught at Athens. 1Cor.15.32 may contain a quotation from Menander; Titus.1.12, from Epimenides. The poetic quality of many OT and NT passages entitles their authors to be called poets.
, a maker
). A poet is an author who expresses his ideas about God, the world, or man in imagery using literary devices such as simile and metaphor in such a form as to inculcate rhythm. Any definition that insists upon rhyme is inadequate, since primitive poetry, Heb. poetry and much modern poetry, had some rhythm but no rhyme.
Figurative speech is particularly prominent in the Heb. poets, i.e., the Song of Moses (Exod 15:1ff.), the Song of Deborah (Judg 5:1ff.), parts of Job (38:28ff.; 41:1ff.), and the Psalms.
Parallelism of several different kinds is very common. a) Synonymous: the repetition of similar ideas (Ps 49:1; cf. Ps 104). b) Synthetic: the second line adds to the first (Ps 55:6. c) Antithetic: the second line expresses a contrast to the first (Ps 1:6). d) Climactic: the second line amplifies the first (Ps 55:12, 13). e) Binorphic: the first line is followed by different parallels (Ps 45:1). See Hebrew Poetry.
The best known is David, who wrote most of the Psalms. Another is the writer of the Book of Job with his epigraph on chastening in the life of the believer. Solomon’s name is ascribed to several books that qualify as poetry, namely, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon. From Moses comes the “Song of Moses” (Exod 15). Some earlier snatches of poetry are to be found in Genesis for which no author is given. Jacob blessed his sons before his death in poetical words (Gen 49).
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
Occurs in this sense only in Ac 17:28, where Paul quotes from the general expression of Greek mythology. The quotation if intended to be exact is probably from Aratus, as the words of Paul in his speech at Athens precisely agree with the opening words of the Phaenomena by Aratus. A similar but not identical expression is found in the Hymn to Zeus by Cleanthes. Aratus in his poem endeavors to posit Jupiter as the father and controller of all things, and worthy to be worshipped. In both his poem and that of Cleanthes, but especially in the latter, there is a true and lofty note of spiritual devotion. Paul takes this praise and devotion offered by the Greek poets to their unknown or fictitious gods and bestows it upon the one true God whom he declared unto the people of Athens.
C. E. Schenk