Original Research

On traumatised mothers and children? Re-reading Lamentations through the lens of trauma

Zukile Ngqeza
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 45, No 1 | a3168 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v45i1.3168 | © 2024 Zukile Ngqeza | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 April 2024 | Published: 12 June 2024

About the author(s)

Zukile Ngqeza, Department of Bibliological Perspectives, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Mafikeng, South Africa


Lamentations 2:20 and 4:10 are biblical texts described as ‘texts of terror’ as well as traumatic biblical texts where ‘tender-hearted women have eaten their children’ (NLT). As Lamentations 2:20 and 4:10 mention a traumatic event, a trauma biblical approach will be utilised to read these biblical texts. The biblical trauma hermeneutics challenges the traditional and judgemental reading of traumatic events as well as the social, cultural and intellectual power of those who tell the stories of the traumatised victims in the Bible and contemporary society. This study will demonstrate the ways in which trauma theory when applied to reading these biblical texts, challenges and subverts the narrator’s version of these biblical texts. Ultimately, the mothers in these biblical texts will be presented as victims of biblical collective trauma rather than as mere murderers and eaters of their children.

Transdisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This study displays intersections between Psychology and Biblical Studies. In this article, Trauma Theory is used to read and interpret Lamentations 2:20 and 4:10. This study is interdisciplinary because I make use of psychology and trauma scholars to read Old Testament texts.


Biblical trauma hermeneutics; trauma theory; Cannibal Mothers; children; Lamentations

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 5: Gender equality


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