The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Inclusio may mean one of two things:


Inclusio is a form in which a genitive may be found in relation to a noun, comprised of "<article> <genitive> <noun>". Found in such an arrangement, the genitive is said to be in inclusio with the noun.


Inclusio is also a literary device based on a concentric principle, also known as bracketing or an envelope structure, which consists of creating a frame by placing similar material at the beginning and end of a section, although whether this material should consist of a word or a phrase, or whether greater amounts of text also qualify, and of what length the frames section should be, are matters of some debate. Inclusio is found in various sources, both antique and new.

Inclusio in the Hebrew Bible

While this may not be evident to many of the Bible's modern lay readers, the Hebrew Bible is actually full of literary devices, some of which, having fallen out of favor over the years, are lost on most of us. Inclusio, of which many instances can be found in the Bible, is one of these, although it should be noted that many instances of Inclusio are lost on those reading translation of the Bible rather than the Hebrew source.

Particularity noteworthy are the many instances of inclusio in the Book of Jeremiah. A rather far-flung example of inclusion in the Book of Jeremiah can be found in its first section, chapters 1-24, which are enveloped both by a similar question in the first and last episode (1:11, 24:3), and by similar imagery - that of almond rods and baskets of figs. Inclusio may also be found between chapters 36 and 45, both of which mention Baruch ben Nerya, to whom Jeremiah's prophecies were entrusted. Bracketing can also be seen in The Lord's sayings in 1:10 and 24:6. Indeed, the whole book save for its last (52nd) chapter - which some claim was appended to it - can be thought of as inside the inclusio formed by 1:1 and 51:64, both of which mention the preaching of Jeremiah (דברי ירמיה), thus allowing us to judge the lateness of chapter 52; although analyzing the whether so trivial a measure has any meaning but that which appeases the eye is best left to the astute reader. None of this is to say that the shorter forms of inclusio - those in which the section enframed is quite shorter - are not found in the Book of Jeremiah. An example is found in Jeremiah 4:22, which reads:

כי אויל עמי אותי לא ידעו בנים סכלים המה ולא נבונים המה חכמים המה להרע ולהיטיב לא ידעו.

The phrase "לא ידעו" (did not know) is found at the beginning and the end of The Lord's analysis of his people. English translations, alas, do not preserve this structure.

Inclusio also abounds in other books of the bible. An obvious example of inclusio is found in the first and last (29th) verses of Psalms:118 - "הודו לה' כי-טוב כי לעולם חסדו.". Another, more disputed, example may be found in the Book of Ruth, where one finds a certain resemblance, if somewhat chiastic , between 1:1 and 1:22 - in the former Elimelekh leaves Bethlehem in favor of Moab, and in the latter Ruth and Naomi leave Moab in favor of Bethlehem.

Last updated: 05-15-2005 13:48:38