Spelling out No-Where.
The place from which the Lamentations of Jeremiah
speak is a place which has been destroyed: the gates of Jerusalem
lie devastated (Jeremiah 1:4; 2:9); the fortresses have been torn
down (2:2); the palaces and strongholds have been razed and destroyed
(2:5, 8). This is a place in which life no longer exists, a place
of terror from which no-one escaped and in which no-one survived (2:22).
The rhetorical question in Jeremiah 2:13 is given
a negative formulation in the first lament which functions somewhat
as an antiphon: There is no-one to comfort her (1.2, 7, 9,
16, 17, 21). The negation is expressed with the word ’ajin,
which has the root meaning “non-existence.”  It is not simply that
the person who could offer comfort or help is absent, but that such
a person does not exist. A similar formulation can be found in the
fifth lament: There is no-one (’ajin) to rescue/tear
us from their hands (Jeremiah 5:8).
1 Echa/woe -
The call to lament is followed by a series of
statements about the city. The city remains unnamed (not
until verse 3 is it referred to as Judah, in verse 4 as Zion, and
in verse 7 Jerusalem); instead, the city exists alone; no-one (more)
lives in it; it is deserted, isolated. The current situation is
formulated verbally. The structure of the sentence preserves what
used to be in a nominal style; the brilliant past is now only a
state; neither motion nor dynamism arise from it. What brings movement
is the present state of the city, but the city is destroyed and
thus essentially unmoved: isolation, loneliness, widowed, forced
Westermann sees in Lamentations a connection between
traditional laments and motifs of death laments: “In direct response
to the catastrophe of 587, Jerusalem’s collapse is portrayed in
such a way that motifs of death laments can be heard in the nation’s
lament, because the city’s collapse is experienced as the death
of the city.”  The book of Lamentations is made up
of the laments of survivors who find themselves living the tension
between wholeness and destruction, between life and death.
 Translated by Dr. Charlotte Methuen. Cf. Ulrike Bail, Wehe, kein Ort, nirgends... Überlegungen zum Sprachraum der Klagelieder Jeremias, in: Charlotte Methuen (Hg.), Time – Utopia –Eschatology (Jahrbuch der ESWTR 1999), Leuven 1999, 81-90.
 Tod Linafelt, Margins of Lamentation, Or, The Unbearable Whiteness of Reading, in: Timothy K. Beal / David M. Gunn (eds.), Reading Bibles, Writing Bodies. Identity and The Book, London/New York 1996, 219-231, 226.
 On the problem of the linguistic linearising of the perception of space, see Karin Wenz, Raum, Raumsprache und Sprachräume. Zur Textsemiotik der Raumbeschreibung (Kodikas/Code Supplement 22), Tübingen 1997, 57ff.
 For simultaneity and reversibility of spatial textuality, see Elisabeth Bronfen, Der literarische Raum. Eine Untersuchung am Beispiel von Dorothy M. Richardsons Romanzyklus Pilgrimage (Studien zur Englischen Philologie, Neue Folge 25), Tübingen 1986, 216ff.
 Linafelt, Surviving Lamentations, 353.
 This is emphasised by the separating accent Legarmeh which the Masoretes placed after the word ’ekah. The Legarmeh is made up of a linking character (Mûnah) and a separating character (Paseq), so that it divides and combines at one and the same time. In the facsimile of the Codex Leningradensis (Folio 430 recto), ’ekah does not stand in a separate line; however, the accent both distinguishes it from and connects it to the body of the text. The first line is empty, to signal the beginning of a new book. See David N. Freedmann/Astrid B. Beck (eds.), The Leningrad Codex. A Facsimile Edition, Grand Rapids, Michigan et al 1997; Rudolph Meyer, Hebräische Grammatik, Berlin/New York (1972) 1992, § 16.3. The manuscript fragment of Lamentations found at Qumran (4Q111=4QLam=4QThra) unfortunately begins only with verse 1ab, so that it is not possible to see whether ’ekah is distinguished from the body of the text. Nebe, who suggests that a fragment of text should be placed before the text as published by Cross, unfortunately does not say how big this fragment is. From his description it would seem not to differ from the masoretic text. See Frank Moore Cross, Studies in the Scripture of Hebrew Verse: The Prosody of Lamentations 1:1-22, in: C.L. Meyers / M. O’Connor (eds.), The Word of the Lord Shall Go Forth. Essays in Honor of David Noel Freedman, Winona Lake 1983, 129-155, 134; G. Wilhelm Nebe, Qumranica I: Zu unveröffentlichten Handschriften aus Höhle 4 von Qumran, in: Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 106 (1994), 307-322, 313f.
 In Hebrew manuscripts and published texts, ’ekah is marked out as a title. On the different names given to the book (Echa, qinot, Threni, lamentationes Jeremiae), see Hans-Joachim Kraus, Klagelieder (Threni) (Biblischer Kommentar Altes Testament XX), Neukirchen-Vluyn 41983, 5.
 Linafelt, Margins of Lamentation, 219; Edmond Jabès, The Book of Margins, trans. R. Waldrop, Chicago 1993, 91.
 The Qumran fragments also show an alphabetical arrangement, but the text is not laid out as it is in the Biblica Hebraica Stuttgartensia. The lines of the columns of text in 4QLam are not identical with the verses. See Cross, Studies in the Structure of Hebrew Verse, 130, 134.
 Claus Westermann, Die Klagelieder. Forschungsgeschichte und Auslegung, Neukirchen-Vluyn 1990, 91. Compare also Kraus, Klagelieder, 6.
 Westermann, Die Klagelieder, 92.
 Ivo Meyer, Die Klagelieder, in: Erich Zenger u.a., Einleitung in das Alte Testament, Stuttgart/Berlin/Köln 1995, 337-342, 338; this way of understanding the alphabetical order is mentioned also by Norman K. Gottwald, The Hebrew Bible. A Socio-Literary Introduction, Philadelphia 1987, 541.
 “…in alphabetischen Gebeten Halt”: These words, by the poet Durs Grünbein, form the last line of the seventh poem of his cycle “Variationen auf kein Thema”, see Durs Grünbein, Falten und Fallen. Gedichte, Frankfurt 61996, 17.
 9 Aw, the day on which Lamentations is read liturgically, could have a similar function. This day is a national day of mourning in remembrance of the destruction of Jerusalem, the diaspora and past persecution. The Mishnah lists five catastrophes which took place on this day. Destruction, expulsions and persecutions in different times and places are collected on one day – perhaps in order to give remembrance to a place in time. Compare Ismar Elbogen, Der jüdische Gottesdienst in seiner geschichtlichen Entwicklung, Hildesheim u.a. 1995, 128ff., 229ff.; Israel Meir Lau, Wie Juden leben. Glaube, Alltag, Feste, Gütersloh 1988, 288ff.
 The dilemma of creating literature in the face of horror has been expressed in the discussions around Adorno’s statement, made in 1951 but later altered, that after Auschwitz it would be barbaric to write a poem. See Petra Kiedaisch (Hg.), Lyrik nach Auschwitz? Adorno und die Dichter, Stuttgart 1995. In recent years the question of the possibility or impossibility of an aesthetic of memory has again been discussed in the light of the suggestion that a “Shoa memorial” should be erected in Berlin.
 Linafelt, Margins of Lamentation, 225.
 Maria Häusl, Die Klagelieder. Zions Stimme in der Not, in: Luise Schottroff/Marie Theres Wacker (eds.), Kompendium Feministische Bibelauslegung, Gütersloh 1998, 270-277, 271.
 Compare Ulrike Bail, Gegen das Schweigen klagen. Eine intertextuelle Studie zu den Klagepsalmen Ps 6 und Ps 55 und der Erzählung von der Vergewaltigung Tamars, Gütersloh 1998, 187ff.; Gerlinde Baumann, Liebe und Gewalt. Die Ehe als Metapher für das Verhältnis von JHWH – Israel in den Prophetenbüchern (Stuttgarter Bibelstudien 185), Stuttgart 2000, 175-182.
 S. Schwertner, Art. ’ajin, Theologisches Handbuch zum Alten Testament I (51994), 127-130, 128.
 See 2 Chronicles 35:25.
 Jürgen Ebach, Die Niederlage von 587/6 und ihre Reflexion in der Theologie Israels, Einwürfe 5 (1988), 70-103, 81. Compare also Westermann, Die Klagelieder, 15ff, 60f, 82ff, 106ff; Kraus, Klagelieder, 7ff.26. Based on Lamentations, other kinot with the theme of persecution and martyrdom can also be found in Judaism. These poetic elegies are used in the liturgy on 9 Aw. See Elbogen, Der jüdische Gottesdienst, 128ff, 229ff.; Lau, Wie Juden leben, 288ff.
 Cross, Studies in the Structure of Hebrew Verse, 133, 152f.
 Compare, for instance, Hesekiah 19:2-14; 26:17-18; Isaiah 1:21-23; 23:1-14; Amos 5:1-2.
 In the masoretic text, this space is marked with the symbol for a paragraph (Samech = paras]ah< petuh[ah). The reproduction of this symbol in the Biblica Hebraica Stuttgartensia shows the original structure of the Codex Leningradensis. However, in the Codex Leningradensis, this space is not between the lines but in the lines, at the beginning or end of a line. See Freedmann/Beck (eds.), The Leningrad Codex. A Facsimile Edition, Fol. 430 recto ff.; Page H. Kelly et al., The Masorah of the Biblica Hebraica Stuttgartensia. Introduction and Annotated Glossary, Grand Rapids, Michigan/Cambridge, U.K. 1998, 155f.
 For the difference between normal and prophetic death laments, see Westermann, Die Klagelieder, 15f. While normal death laments do not always exploit the contrast between different times and tenses (once – now), prophetic death laments, which are laments about people who still live, always do so. Their qinah has a rhythm of contrasts.
 Compare Cross, Studies in the Structure of Hebrew Verse, 135.
 In the Hebrew Bible, it is usually women who lead the laments which mourn for the dead. See, for instance, Jeremiah 31:15; 38:22; 49:3; 9:16-21; Hesekiah 8:14; 32:16; Amos 8:3; Judges 11:40. Compare Häusl, Die Klagelieder, 275f.
 Ibid., 22.
 See Linafelt, Margins of Lamentation, 230.
 Cited according to Lazarus Goldschmidt, Der babylonische Talmud, Band 9, Berlin 1939, 71 (Fol. 98b).
 Gaston Bachelard, Poetik des Raumes, Frankfurt 1997, 25. In his “Topo-Analysis” (ibid., 35) or “Topophilia” (ibid., 25) Bachelard investigates “literary images of the space of contentment”, such as house, nest, shell, niche. At the beginning of his discussion of “inner immeasurability”, he writes: “[The dream world] seeks to escape the immediate, and is immediately far away, elsewhere else, in the space of somewhere else” (ibid., 186). His spaces of contentment have a place in the imagination, in the “creative abilities of speaking being,” in the “imaginative consciousness” (ibid., 15).
 Burghart Schmidt, Utopie ist keine Literaturgattung, in: Gert Ueding (Hg.), Literatur ist Utopie, Frankfurt 1978, 17-44, 19. Schmidt makes it clear that utopia is not read only in the positing of spaces of contentment, but that even Brecht’s Mahagonny-Minimum “something is missing” is utopian in as much as it calls for change and does not simply register absence (ibid., 41).
 For literature as utopia, see Gert Ueding, Literatur ist Utopie, in: Gert Ueding, Literatur ist Utopie, Frankfurt 1978, 7-14; Karl-Heinz Bohrer, Utopie des ‚Augenblicks‘ und Fiktionalität. Die Subjektivisierung von Zeit in der modernen Literatur, in: Gert Ueding, Plötzlichkeit. Zum Augenblick des ästhetischen Scheins. Mit einem Nachwort von 1998, Frankfurt
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