Friday, July 23, 2010
Book of Lamentations Bibliography
Ever since I was young, I have always had a soft spot in my heart for The Book of Lamentations. Now before you think that last sentence makes absolutely no sense, considering the subject matter of the book, let me explain. When I was attending a local Catholic high school, we were all given Catholic editions of The Good News Bible when we were freshmen. Did we ever actually use it in our religion classes? Rarely! Yeah, truly a shame. (Fortunately, this is something which I am proud to say doesn't happen at the high school I teach, where we are always using the Bible in all the theology courses we offer.) To be fair, there was, however, one religion class when I was in high school that asked each student to lead the opening prayer, with a particular Scripture passage selected, once per semester. Of course, the student was able to pick the passage beforehand, and when you are in a school full of teenage boys, the scripture we often heard ended up coming from Revelation, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Daniel, or Lamentations. Why you ask? Well, in those books, as well as some of the other prophets, you find lots of passages dealing with the "sword, fire, and pestilence." All of this is terribly exciting for teenage boys. The teacher, of course, shook her head in dismay each day as another student would pick from one of these books, but in the end never did anything about it. In many ways, outside of Sunday Mass, this was my first real interaction with the Scriptures. So, whenever I come upon Lamentations in the Bible, I kind of get the warm and fuzzies. Strange? Probably.
So, why do I bring up Lamentations now? Well, a week or so ago I decided to re-read Lamentations for the first time in a while. As I was reading it, I began consulting some study notes in my NOAB 4th Edition and began to get really interested in doing some more in depth study. In addition, I even proposed leading a 4 week study on Lamentations at a local parish at the end of the summer, which I am waiting to hear back on. So, I wanted to see if there are any particular books or commentaries that I should consult while doing the research and preparing for this possible Bible study. So far, outside of the NOAB, I have been referencing: The Jewish Study Bible, Lamentations by Hillers (Anchor Bible), and Jeremiah 30-52 and Lamentations by Bracke (Westminster Bible Companion). The works I have been using have been primarily concerned with critical/historical/literary issue, but I am also looking for recommendations focusing on Christian interpretation. Maybe something that examines how and why Lamentations is used during Holy Week. I am interested to hear in feedback from my fine readers.