Daughter Zion Talks Back to the Prophets

A Dialogic Theology of the Book of Lamentations

Series: 

Daughter Zion Talks Back to the Prophets offers a new theological reading of the book of Lamentations by putting the female voice of chapters 1–2 into dialogue with the divine voice of prophetic texts in which God represents the people Israel as his wife and indicts them/her for being unfaithful to him. In Lam 1–2 we hear the “wife” talk back, and from her words we get an entirely different picture of the conflict showcased through this marriage metaphor. Mandolfo thus presents a feminist challenge to biblical hegemony and patriarchy and reconstrues biblical authority to contribute to the theological concerns of a postcolonial world.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (www.sbl-site.org)
Carleen Mandolfo, Ph.D. (2000) in Hebrew Bible, Emory University, is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. She is the author of God in the Dock: Dialogic Tension in Psalms of Lament (Sheffield Academic Press); co-author of From Earth’s Creation to John’s Revelation: The Interfaces Biblical Storyline Companion (Liturgical Press); and co-editor of Relating to the Text: Interdisciplinary and Form-Critical Insights on the Bible (T & T Clark
“In her study of the Psalms Mandolfo carefully and persuasively made clear that the text is multi-voiced and its intention is a dialogic practice that refuses closure and that destabilizes every would-be absolute voice. In the present study Mandolfo continues her compelling advocacy of multi-voiced dialogue by a focus on texts in Hosea, Jeremiah, II Isaiah, and especially the Book of Lamentations where “daughter Zion” is addressed and speaks for herself.
Mandolfo’s study is an important one on two counts. First, she advances our practice of a deconstructive hermeneutic with great attentiveness to a feminist concern. But second, her deconstructive project (that she pursues with focus on specific texts) has important interpretive-theological implications. In dialogic practice the claims of God over against daughter Zion are never left settled or unchallenged. Mandolfo’s study is one more invitation that we must find fresh ways of allowing text claims that rely on dialogic openness. This advocacy has important ethical extrapolations in a world of loud competing absolutenesses in US society in particular, where monologic religion is readily allied with authoritarian economics, political exclusivism, and military arrogance. Dialogic alertness vigorously resists and subverts every such monologic absolute. Mandolfo’s study is a telling contribution to this on-going urgent conversation.”
—Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

Abbreviated endorsement approved by WB:
“Mandolfo’s study is an important one on two counts. First, she advances our practice of a deconstructive hermeneutic with great attentiveness to a feminist concern. But second, her deconstructive project has important interpretive-theological implications. In dialogic practice the claims of God over against daughter Zion are never left settled or unchallenged. Mandolfo’s study is one more invitation that we must find fresh ways of allowing text claims that rely on dialogic openness. This advocacy has important ethical extrapolations in a world where monologic religion is readily allied with authoritarian economics, political exclusivism, and military arrogance. Dialogic alertness vigorously resists and subverts every such monologic absolute. Mandolfo’s study is a telling contribution to this ongoing urgent conversation.”
—Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

“Carleen Mandolfo writes with courage and insight on some of the central questions challenging “Bible professionals” today: how to discern the intentionality of texts, to articulate the agency of the deity, to undertake an ethically responsible reading, to manage the scandal of influential literature. Mandolfo’s construction of Daughter Zion, whose voice emerges to challenge and engage her prophetic peers, is underwritten by a fresh and skillful orchestration of traditional and new methods, intersecting them fruitfully after the manner of Martin Buber and Mikhail Bakhtin. If we are to learn how to hear the Bible as “rich with voices,” as Mandolfo maintains, and to find that the news is good for the lives of those with whom we read, this book will be an invaluable companion for that process.”—Barbara Green, Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, Graduate Theological Union