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Old Testament Essays

versión On-line ISSN 2312-3621
versión impresa ISSN 1010-9919

Old testam. essays vol.21 no.1 Pretoria  2008


Lament, the language for our times1



Frances Klopper

University of the Free State





Lament has many faces. The kind of lament addressed in this paper is indeed a form of mourning but not about death, not for a purpose, but an existential wail as primal as a child's need to cry. Through the ages it was a way of bearing the unbearable, a supremely human need. In Israel it was integral to the people's relationship with God. The paper discusses particular cases of lament in the Hebrew Bible as well as expressions of lament during painful moments in our world history. Lamenting is healing and the need for healing is paramount the world over, therefore the loss of lament in Western culture is lamentable.



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Frances Klopper
Department of Afroasiatic Studies
Sign Language & Language Practice
University of the Free State, PO Box 339, Bloemfontein 9300, South Africa



1 Paper delivered at the Annual Meeting of the OTSSA, Pretoria, 22-24 August 2007. The research is funded by a Thuthuka Postdoctoral grant of the South African National Research Foundation. Any opinion, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and the NRF does not accept any liability in regard thereto

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