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Lamentations. The Old Testament Library. By Adele Berlin (Westminster John Knox, $39.95). B.'s commentary focuses on issues of poetry, vocabulary, and imagery rather than on historical questions. She notes the patterning of words and sounds and plays on words and sounds. Living in a world whose order has been disrupted, the poet constructs his order by the orderly progression of the Hebrew letters in the primarily acrostic poems. In chapter 1 the suffering is borne by a city personified as a woman in several roles--a widow, a betrayed lover, and finally a bereaved mother. The book does not try to explain suffering but to recreate and commemorate it, to relive the tragedy so that disobedience will not happen again. B.'s powerful new translation ends in despair: "You reject us completely,//you are angry with us, so very much." In Jewish tradition, one repeats the second last verse on a book that ends on a low note, which is a necessary strategy here: "Take us back, LORD, to yourself; O let us come back.//Make us again as we were before." RWK
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Title Annotation:Lamentations: The Old Testament Library
Publication:Currents in Theology and Mission
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Oct 1, 2005
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