NT Scholars’ Use Of OT Lament Terminology And Its Theological And Interdisciplinary Implications -- By: D. Keith Campbell

Journal: Bulletin for Biblical Research
Volume: BBR 21:2 (NA 2011)
Article: NT Scholars’ Use Of OT Lament Terminology And Its Theological And Interdisciplinary Implications
Author: D. Keith Campbell


NT Scholars’ Use Of OT Lament Terminology And Its Theological And Interdisciplinary Implications

D. Keith Campbell

International Institute For Christian Studies

The term lament has become a household label in OT studies since Hermann Gunkel’s 1933 groundbreaking work, Einleitung in die Psalmen. After seven decades of research into OT lament, the term now identifies, in contrast to classical English usage, an established genre that connotes significant theological implications. This article explores how English and German NT commentators pre- and post-Gunkel have appropriated this term in relation to a sampling of NT passages. In essence, it argues that NT commentators consistently label Matt 2:18, 23:37-39, Luke 13:34-35, 19:41-44, and 23:27-31 as laments while inadvertently overlooking Gunkel’s form-critical contribution to biblical studies. This oversight has theological implications on these passages and results in an inconsistent interdisciplinary use of lament terminology between OT and NT scholars.

Key Words: lament, lamentation, dirge, Gunkel, Klage, Anklage, Westermann, Matthew 2:18, Matthew 23:37-39, Luke 13:34-35, Luke 19:41-44

Author’s note: The seminal thought for this article was birthed out of a personal conversation with Dr. Heath Thomas, Assistant Professor of OT and Hebrew at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. This article is an adaptation of my “Exploration into NT Scholars’ Use of OT Lament Terminology and Its Theological Implications” (paper presented at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, New Orleans, LA, November 19, 2009).

Introduction

The purpose of this article is to explore how NT scholars use OT lament terminology and to consider its theological and interdisciplinary (NT and OT) implications. In essence, I argue that English and German NT commentators consistently mislabel Matt 2:18, 23:37-39, Luke 13:34-35, 19:41-44, and 23:27-31 as “laments” while unintentionally overlooking its established generic definition.1 Correcting this oversight will result in a

more harmonious use of lament ...

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