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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Trauma and the Failure of History: Kings, Lamentations, and the Destruction of Jerusalem
Janzen, David

Atlanta: SBL Press, 2019 pp. xii + 183. $32.95

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Description: At the core of history writing is narrative, and insofar as the past can be known by us it is a construction of stories written by historians. But massive psychological trauma is not something that even victims themselves can truly know, so it can never be part of the past. These theories of history and trauma are discussed applied to the reading of two books of the Bible, Kings and Lamentations, which both respond to the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem. Kings tells a story that explains those horrific events, but Lamentations, reflecting the perspective of trauma survivors, rejects any explanatory narrative and refuses to let the trauma be part of a past.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Historical Books, 1-2 Kings, Writings, Lamentations, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, History of Judaism, Literary Approaches, Social-Scientific Approaches, Ideological Critique

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Review by Rachelle Gilmour
Published 7/16/2020
Citation: Rachelle Gilmour, review of David Janzen, Trauma and the Failure of History: Kings, Lamentations, and the Destruction of Jerusalem, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2020).


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