Original Research

A canonical-literary reading of Lamentations 5

Shinman Kang, Pieter M. Venter
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 65, No 1 | a278 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v65i1.278 | © 2009 Shinman Kang, Pieter M. Venter | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 June 2009 | Published: 17 August 2009

About the author(s)

Shinman Kang, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Pieter M. Venter, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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This article presents a canonical and literary reading of Lamentations 5 in the context of the book of Lamentations as a whole. Following the approach by Vanhoozer (1998, 2002) based on speech-act theory, the meaning of Scripture is sought at canonical level, supervening the basic literary level. In Lamentations, as polyphonic poetic text, the speaking voices form a very important key for the interpretation of the text. In the polyphonic text of Lamentations, the shifting of the speaking voices occurs between Lamentations 1 and 4. Lamentations 5 is monologic. The theories of Bakhtin (1984) are also used to understand the book of Lamentations. In this book, chapter 5 forms the climax where Jerusalem cries to God. We cannot, however, find God’s answer to this call in Lamentations; we can find it only within the broader text of the Christian canon.


Lamentations; canonical literary reading; speech-act theory; Christian canon; biblical hermeneutics


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