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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Maternal Grief in the Hebrew Bible
Kozlova, Ekaterina E.

New York: Oxford University Press, 2017 pp. xv + 246. $95.00

Series Information
Oxford Theology and Religion Monographs


Description: Setting out from the observation made in the social sciences that maternal grief can at times be a motor of societal change, Ekaterina E. Kozlova demonstrates that a similar mechanism operates also in the biblical world. Kozlova argues that maternal grief is treated as a model or archetype of grief in biblical and Ancient Near Eastern literature. The work considers three narratives and one poem that illustrate the transformative power of maternal grief in the biblical presentation: Gen 21, Hagar and Ishmael in the desert; 2 Sam 21: 1-14, Rizpah versus King David; 2 Sam 14, the speech of the Tekoite woman; Jer 31: 15-22, Rachel weeping for her children. Although only one of the texts literally refers to a bereaved mother (2 Sam 21 on Rizpah), all four passages draw on the motif of maternal grief, and all four stage some form of societal transformation.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Literature, Methods, Social-Scientific Approaches

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Review by Claudia D. Bergmann
Published 4/19/2018
Citation: Claudia D. Bergmann, review of Ekaterina E. Kozlova, Maternal Grief in the Hebrew Bible, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2018).


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