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Old Testament Essays

On-line version ISSN 2312-3621
Print version ISSN 1010-9919


LIER, Gudrun E.. The Travail of Pain: An Interpretive Perspective from Scripture. Old testam. essays [online]. 2019, vol.32, n.3, pp.869-884. ISSN 2312-3621.

The concept of pain and grieving in the Hebrew Bible is often linked to the context of travail in the birthing process. This perspective suggests that experiences and emotions of pain are associated with feelings of deep distress which, when properly resolved, give way to positive dimensions of care, hope and empowerment as well as the vitality to face new challenges of life. This paper investigates the conceptualization of pain in Scripture from linguistic expressions and ceremonial practices. It compares these findings with phenomenological perspectives of childbirth experiences and how these can assist to explain biblical labour metaphors. The aim is to show how the conceptualization of pain in Scripture can assist to resolve pain in contemporary contexts.

Keywords : travail; pain; labour metaphors; ceremonial mourning practices; travail of God; suffering Messiah.

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