City of Ruins

Mourning the Destruction of Jerusalem Through Jewish Apocalypse


This study addresses the way in which a psychoanalytic model of mourning relates to a set of Jewish apocalypses concerned with the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple. These texts respond to the traumatic symbolic loss of Zion and attempt to heal it through the apocalyptic narrative, the visionary experiences of the seers, and the emotional transformation that results from the interplay of the two. The seers react with rage, paralysis, and self-annihilating sentiments, and hence these texts resemble incomplete, stalled mourning, or melancholia. Through the course of their narratives and a 'working-through' of the Jewish past, true mourning and psychological recovery occur, prompting visions of the establishment of an ideal society in the future.
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Biographical Note

Dereck Daschke, Ph.D. (2000) in Divinity, University of Chicago, is Chair of Philosophy & Religion at Truman State University. He most recently co-edited A Cry Instead of Justice: The Bible and Cultures of Violence in Psychological Perspective (T&T Clark, 2010).

Table of contents

Introduction: “If I Forget You, O Jerusalem”: Traumatic Memory and the Fall of Zion
Chapter One: Apocalyptic Melancholia and the Trauma of History
Chapter Two: Ezekiel: “Desolate Among Them”
Chapter Three: 4 Ezra: “Because of My Grief I Have Spoken”
Chapter Four: 2 and 3 Baruch: “Cease Irritating God”
Conclusion: The Apocalyptic Cure: Recovering the Future by Working-through the Past
Epilogue: Apocalyptic Melancholia and 9/11


Scholars of ancient Judaism, inter-Testamental literature, millenarian studies, and the impact of national trauma, especially those who infuse Biblical scholarship with social scientific interpretation or critical theory from the humanities.


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