• Debating Suffering: The Voices of Lamentations Personified in Job’s Dialogue.

    Will Kynes (see profile)
    Bible. Job, Wisdom literature, Intertextuality
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Biblical Wisdom literature, Book of Lamentations
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    Focusing on Lamentations 3, the “theological heart” of the book (O’Connor 2002), and the chapter with closest parallels to the book of Job, this paper will explore how the “voices” in Lamentations correspond to the characters in Job’s dialogue. The close connections between the two books, which have previously been surprisingly overlooked (Aitken 2013), invite this consideration of whether Job may be an early reception of Lamentations. Though some have addressed the close lexical links between the chapter and Job’s laments in chs. 16 and 19 (Lévêque 1970; Mettinger 1993; Aitken 2013), the resonance between the more positive “didactic voice” (Mandolfo 2007) in Lam 3:22-41 and Job’s friends has received less attention, though it is perhaps the “most Joblike” section of the chapter (Berlin 2002). More than that, the parallels between Job and these two sections of the chapter are not discrete, as they tend to be treated. Once they are recognized, they can no longer be considered the result of the clashing of traditions or mixing of genres in Lamentations. The personification of these voices and dramatization of their polyphonic engagement in Job suggests their interaction was part of Israelite reflection on suffering. Further, this technique corresponds with the use of the psalms in Job (Kynes 2012), which suggests the dramatic amplification of this dialogue from Lamentations was intentional. Considering the potential reception of Lamentations 3 in Job, therefore, affords an opportunity to compare how Job and the supplicant in Lamentations 3 make their complaints, how the friends and the “didactic voice” respond, and how the two books similarly employ the dialogue of multiple voices to respond to suffering.
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    Last Updated:
    2 years ago
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