Personal tragedy and communal catastrophe up to the present day are universal human experiences that call forth lament. Lament singers—from the most ancient civilizations to traditional oral poets to the biblical psalmists and poets of Lamentations to popular singers across the globe—have always raised the cry of human suffering, giving voice to the voiceless, illuminating injustice, or pleading for divine help. This volume gathers an international collection of essays on biblical lament and Lamentations, illuminating their genres, artistry, purposes, and significant place in the history and theologies of ancient Israel. It also explores lament across cultures, both those influenced by biblical traditions and those not, as the practices of composition, performance, and interpretation of life’s suffering continue to shed light on our knowledge of biblical lament.
Nancy C. Lee, Ph.D. (2000) in Hebrew Bible, Union Seminary/PSCE, is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Illinois. She is the author of The Singers of Lamentations: Cities Under Siege, from Ur to Jerusalem to Sarajevo (Brill), editor of Between Despair and Lamentation (Elmhurst College), and contributed on Lamentations for the NRSV Discipleship Study Bible (Westminster/John Knox).
Carleen Mandolfo, Ph.D. (2000) in Hebrew Bible, Emory University, is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. She is the author of God in the Dock: Dialogic Tension in Psalms of Lament (Sheffield Academic Press), Daughter Zion Talks Back to the Prophets: A Dialogic Theology of the Book of Lamentations (Society of Biblical Literature), and co-author of From Earth’s Creation to John’s Revelation: The Interfaces Biblical Storyline Companion (Liturgical Press).
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