“A Time to Weep”: The Power of Lament in Times of Crisis
Part of the series, “Times of Crisis and Possibility”
More than a century ago, William James asserted that prayer was “the very soul and essence of religion.” At the same time that James was writing, biblical scholars were identifying and analyzing the forms and genres of biblical prayer. One of the most prominent of them is the lament, in which worshippers (individual or communal) cry out to God in times of duress. The effusion of pain and grief is a way of reaching out for the knowledge and comfort of God’s Presence—for reassurance that the suffering has been noticed and that God may be moved to provide relief. In this class, we consider selected prayers of lament in order to discern the continuing power of the genre as form of prayerful expression.
With Dr. Alan Cooper, Elaine Ravich Professor of Jewish Studies, JTS.
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