THE FUNCTION OF (MATERNAL) CANNIBALISM IN THE BOOK OF LAMENTATIONS (2:20 & 4:10)

Hendrik Bosman

Abstract


Cannibalism is a sensitive subject that many commentaries on the Book of
Lamentations pay little attention to. This article develops the possibility that the
Book of Lamentations confronts YHWH with the affliction that He has caused the
destruction of Jerusalem and that maternal cannibalism is the horrendous extreme
of this divinely inflicted suffering. This suggestion is discussed against the
background of a central motif in later Greco-Roman literature that the tyrant is the
inverted Other. Cannibalism may then be interpreted as a motif in the polemics
against tyranny by the author of Lamentations to depict YHWH as author of the
misery experienced with the destruction of Jerusalem and thereafter.

Keywords


Lamentations 2:20; Lamentations 4:10; Anthropophagy; Cannibalism; Suffering

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7833/110-0-107

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ISSN 2305-445X (online); ISSN 0254-1807 (print)

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