Date of Graduation

Spring 2009


Master of Arts in Religious Studies


Religious Studies

Committee Chair

Victor Matthews


This thesis addresses the question of how the poetry that arose from three catastrophes in Israelite/Jewish history (the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in 587/6 BCE and in 70 CE, and the Shoah in 1940-45 CE) works to provide solutions to the problem of suffering. This thesis utilizes a visual and verbal aesthetic analysis of the poetry of Lamentations 2.20-22, noting the inter- and extra-textual nature of the biblical text, and exploring its reception history, specifically in the fourth vision in 4 Ezra and in selected post-Shoah poems. In this comparative exegesis, I focus on complementary imagery to show how these texts verbalize suffering, seek explanation, and give hope. Ultimately, the composers of the biblical texts invigorate memory and inspire imagination for the future to create, in the present, trust in The LORD and hope for a renewed location and identity predicated on their communities' covenantal relationship with The LORD.


Book of Lamentations, Hebrew Bible poetry, 4 Ezra, Shoah, Holocaust, aesthetic criticism, reception criticism, parallelism, Day of YHWH, intertextuality, fractals, Jerusalem Temple, Wolfgang Iser, William Blake, poetry, imagery

Subject Categories



© Jane Ellen Terry

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