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Genre is a formal-thematic type of text which serves as a basic criteria of discerning particular units and complex pieces. The project distinguishes between three main types of genres (statement, anecdote, and pragmatic advice) and uses it as a starting point for more precise division.

The following genres have been defined in the current versions of the databases:

  • anecdote [#anec] - a simple narrative presenting a certain progression of events (in the Hebrew Bible only);
  • biblical anecdote [#bib] - a narrative which reiterates or explains a biblical account, most often with the intrusion of some entity to the story (in the Babylonian Talmud only);
  • rabbinic anecdote [#rab] - a narrative which concerns the personal rabbinic encounters with the entities (in the Babylonian Talmud only);
  • pragmatic recommendation [#prag] - covers all the down-to-earth details concerning the relationships between humans and entities and boils down to the specific dos and don’ts and if-thens;
  • statement [#stat] - presents some general traits of a given entity and although the examples can be quite complex in terms of their contents and involve a detailed visual description or a flamboyant simile, they take a form of simple statements or assertions.


Unit is an isolated part of text which is coherent with regard to its genre and at the same time remains as large as possible to accommodate this coherence. One such textual unit occupies one verse in the database and is the basic unit of measurement.


Piece is a thematically coherent fragment composed of two or more units. In the database the units constituting a piece are marked in a hue of blue.

Additional genres

A database may contain the genres specific for a given corpus.

Hebrew Bible

#dream – a recalling or explanation of a dream whose contents may refer to the future or be an interpretation of the past.

#law – a legal text that establishes the norms of conduct and ritual.

#narrative – a historical or para-historical narrative, of individual (heroic) or collective (epic) significance.

#epic – the narrative focuses on collective entities such as tribes, nations, and kingdoms.

#hero – the narrative focuses on singular agents.

#history – the narrative is contextually grounded: it contains the dates, involves political entities, and takes place in the defined geographical regions.

#myth – the narrative lacks historical and geographical grounding.

#poetry – a poetic portion of text emphasizing its esthetical and expressive aspects.

#blessing – benediction.

#lament – grief and plea for salvation.

#love – affection and infatuation.

#devotion – divine praise.

#retribution – divine punishment for wrongdoings.

#prophecy – an augury, usually provided in a form of a vision.

#apocalyptic – the prophecy reiterates the chaoskampf motif.

#judgement – the prophecy predicts the divine punishment.

#salvation – the prophecy guarantees divine providence.

#wisdom – a piece of sapiential text.