Original Research: Historical Thought and Source Interpretation

The possible psychoanalytical meanings of the mouth for mourning in the Book of Job

Pieter van der Zwan
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 78, No 4 | a7351 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v78i4.7351 | © 2022 Pieter van der Zwan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 January 2022 | Published: 29 November 2022

About the author(s)

Pieter van der Zwan, Department of Ancient Texts, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


This study is about the mouth and its parts in the book of Job on the one hand, and on psychic introjection on the other, even when these two aspects do not completely overlap. The dominance of the mouth and orality in this biblical book speaks for its symbolic and psychic implications, including dependency and depression, but also symbolisation and empathy, where psychic digestion is resymbolising what has been desymbolised by trauma. The hypothesis is therefore that the mouth plays a crucial role in the process of mourning in the Book of Job.

Contribution: Interdisciplinary research into biblical texts from the perspective of psychoanalytic literary criticism adds to the broader horizons within which these texts can be analysed and interpreted. Within this frame, the focus on the mouth continues and promotes the Bodies Studies movement, which has been blossoming for over 40 years.


Book of Job; psychoanalytical; mouth; oral; introjection.


Total abstract views: 629
Total article views: 652

Crossref Citations

No related citations found.