Original Research - Special Collection: Festschrift for Prof Stephan Joubert

Engaging Old Testament prophetic literature in traumatic times of loss and grief

Wilhelm J. Wessels
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 4 | a6441 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i4.6441 | © 2021 Wilhelm J. Wessels | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 December 2020 | Published: 18 May 2021

About the author(s)

Wilhelm J. Wessels, Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


This article addresses not only the matter of loss and grief but also hope and recovery. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has hugely affected not only South Africans but also people globally. One of the key features of this pandemic is loss and the associated grief. To explore these topics, the author has engaged prophetic literature, more specifically the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah, which present compelling cases of loss and grief. An attempt was made to identify similarities between the experiences of the people of Judah and our current experiences of loss and grief because of the pandemic. Whilst the reality of loss and grief is validated, the positive role of prophetic words of comfort and hope is also valued.

Contribution: This article offers original research in the field of biblical studies, more specifically, in the field of the Old Testament. This is in line with the scope of the article aims at relating texts from the prophetic literature to a current challenging situation of grief and loss because of the COVID-19 pandemic.


COVID-19; loss; grief; emotions; exile; comforting; hope; recovery.


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