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Balancing one line of a verse against another. It is distinctive of Hebrew poetry. when the second line repeats the thought of the first , the parallelism is called synonymous (Psalms 50:4). When it opposes the first thought, it is called antithetical (Psalms 1:6). When it expands the first thought, it is said to be synthetic parallelism (Psalms 7:2). If the expansion continues through several lines step by step, it is referred to as climactic or stairlike.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.