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Hiding Behind the Naked Women in Lamentations: a Recriminative Response

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The figure of Zion/Woman as used in Lamentations is problematic for female readers. She suffers utter humiliation at the hands of an avenging deity and provides the focal point for the guilt and shame of Israel. Despite claims that this metaphor was meant to humiliate the male community and stimulate repentance, the female figure provides an easy scapegoat behind which the male community may hide. Moreover, the metaphor is encoded with various stereo-typical expectations and operates on a shared value system between writer and reader, which are offensive and damaging to the female reader. This article exposes the damaging implications of the metaphor and asks what one can subsequently 'do' with Lamentations.

Affiliations: 1: Westhill College, Birmingham


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