"Lamentations and the Poetic Politics of Prayer"

I have just had an article published on the book of Lamentations and politics.

The article, published in the Tyndale Bulletin, is available below if anyone wants to read it.

"Lamentations and the Poetic Politics of Prayer"

If that link is a problem then try this one.

Here is the abstract:

The first half of this paper seeks to make explicit the political dimensions of the text of Lamentations. The poetry vividly depicts the political use of violence in the destruction of a society. Judah is ruined politically, economically, socially, and religiously by the Babylonians for political ends. In the second half of the paper I argue that Lamentations contributes to our theo-political reflections not so much in its provision of new conceptual categories, nor even in its sharpening of categories already in place but rather in its power for shaping the emotional, ethical-political response of its audiences (human and divine). The readers are invited to bring political calamity into God’s presence and to seek salvation; they are encouraged to look with merciful eyes at victims of political violence even if those victims are not ‘innocent’; they are encouraged to see political evil for what it is and to speak its name; they are guided towards becoming honest-to-God lamenters and God-dependent pray-ers who hunger and thirst for righteousness.


David Reimer said…
Hi Robin - thanks so much for posting this. What a thoroughly helpful paper!

I've only had a quick read of it, but rest assured I'll being going back to it more than once! Just a couple superficial :) comments then --

1. It strikes me that much of what you register in section 2 as the action of the Babylonians, isn't registered in Lamentations itself as the action of the Babylonians. It's not so much that this observation impedes the sort of analysis you offer, as that it throws the lament into a political key we're not accustomed to using -- and which you draw attention to later in the paper.

2. Too bad note 55 is note 55! It seems to me there's some important stuff in there and that the elaboration/reflection you offer there might have been yet more prominent!

Anyway, there's much for me to ponder here! Thanks again.
Robin Parry said…

Thanks for your very kind words. All the more encouraging coming from one who writes on politics and the OT.

I agree with point 1.

re: fn. 55. Yes, I struggled with some of the footnotes in this article. At various times they moved into and out of the main text. I tried various ways of reframing the whole article, restructuring it to make some of the things that are now footnotes more prominent. In the end I decided that the shape it now has was the best way for me to get across my main ideas and the rest fell away into footnotes. But I would be open to ideas about how fn 55 could become more dominant.

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