Kathryn Rickert conducts experiment in scriptural reasoning

May 10, 2010

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Kathryn Rickert, adjunct faculty in the School of Theology and Ministry, co-presented a paper, "Reading for Lament: Preliminary Indications for a Christian Grammar of Lament," at the Pacific Northwest American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature meeting at the University University of Victoria in B.C.  The paper, Rickert writes, “is an experiment and example of ‘Scriptural Reasoning.’ Weaving together side-by-side readings of Hannah's Lament in I Sam. 1:3-9 and Paul's possible laments in 2 Cor. 2:1-4, 6:11-13, 7:5-16), the paper combines customary scholarly historical-critical research with theological reflection in order to bring out what Peter Ochs calls the ‘reparative function of religion.’ Such a reading is not ‘disinterested,’ but rather reads for the good of one's own life and for the life of the world.

The specific good connected to this presentation is the missing voice of lament woven throughout much of the biblical text, yet little used in Christian worship. The powerful resources of the language and audacity of laments have significant implications for communal responses to tragic suffering and the construction of a just society. Both the paper and the method are examples of bringing together distinct strands of tradition and practice, not so that a decision between them may be made, but rather so that we might approach what Alasdair MacIntyr calls ‘the right kinds of tensions.’”