in Old Testament Library

by Adele Berlin

5 Rank Score: 6.1 from 7 reviews, 4 featured collections, and 12 user libraries
Pages 135
Publisher Westminster John Knox
Published 1/1/2002
ISBN-13 9780664218492


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An insightful work that looks at Lamentations in relation to other ancient Near Eastern Literature. Longman notes that Berlin “focuses on literary features, particularly the book’s metaphors, to get at the theology of the book. She lists ‘purity, mourning, repentance, and the Davidic covenant’ as particularly important themes in the book.” [Full Review]
G Ware G Ware September 4, 2019
Top notch, scholarly commentary, which is focused more on literary forms than theology, but still captures the thrust of the text well.
More literarily minded commentary
Philibuster Philibuster August 23, 2012
Adele Berlin's commentary is slight (~125 pgs of text) but excellent. Her introduction highlights several key insights that she unpacks in the commentary. Her primary focus is on the literary dimensions of the text. Highly recommended.
Single-volume commentaries on the book of Lamentations have been rare. Westminsters Old Testament Library commentary series has existed for about forty years without a volume on Lamentations. While no work on Lamentations could be said to be worth such a wait, this brilliant commentary by Adele Berlin more than fills the void and should become the foundation for all work on Lamentations for years to come. In a day when biblical commentaries seem to be evaluated by weight, and biblical books of a length similar to Lamentations are generating commentaries in excess of 500 pages, the economy and elegance of Berlins work cry out like a voice in the wilderness. Following a thorough bibliography, Berlin addresses general issues involved in the interpretation of the book of Lamentations in a tightly written thirty-seven-page introduction. Along with expected subjects, such as date, authorship, purpose, features of Hebrew poetry, and ancient Near Eastern parallels, Berlin also addresses Mourning as a Religious Concept and The Theology of Destruction and Exile. She identifies qinah meter as the defining poetic feature of La mentations, while not arguing for a countable sense of meter in Hebrew poetry (2). She de scribes a sublime literary touch in the use of the formal and rigid ac rostic structure in poems lamenting the breakdown of order and structure in the world (45). [Full Review]