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Psychological criticism: Exploring the self in the text. Richards Eds. Petersen pp. Atlanta: SBL. The costly loss of lament. JSOT 36, The message of the Psalms: A theological commentary. Minneapolis: Augsburg. Psalms and the life of faith: A suggested typology of function. JSOT 17, Caruth, C. Trauma: Explorations in memory. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press. Journey through the Psalms, rev. Louis: Chalice Press.

Dombkowski Hopkins, D. Psalms: Books Wisdom Commentary, vol. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press. Grounded in the living Word: The Old Testament and pastoral care practices. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. Frechette, C.

Destroying the internalized perpetrator: A healing function of the violent language against enemies in the Psalms. The Old Testament as controlled substance: How insights from trauma studies reveal healing capacities in potentially harmful texts. Interpretation 69, Herman, J. Trauma and recovery: The aftermath of violence -- from domestic abuse to political terror. NY: Basic Books. Holmes, B. Joy unspeakable: Contemplative practices of the Black church.

Minneapolis: Fortress. Jacobson, R. JSOTSup Kelly, M. Grief: Contemporary theory and the practice of ministry. Lester, A. The angry Christian: A theology for care and counseling. Lipschits, O. Blenkinsopp Eds. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns. McGee, T. Transforming trauma: A path toward wholeness. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.

Jeremiah: Pain and promise. Park, A. From hurt to healing: A theology of the wounded. Nashville: Abingdon. Pennebaker, J. Opening up: The healing power of confiding in others. NY: William Morrow. Saussy, C. The gift of anger: A call to faithful action. Schaefer, K. Psalms, Berit Olam. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, Smith-Christopher, D. Jonah, Jesus, and other good coyotes: Speaking peace to power in the Bible.

Strawn, B. Poetic attachment: Psychology, psycholinguistics, and the Psalms. Brown Ed. NY: Oxford University Press. Stulman, K. You are my people: An introduction to prophetic literature. Suchocki, M. God-Christ-Church: A practical guide to process theology. NY: Crossroad. Swain, S. Trauma and transformation at ground zero: A pastoral theology. Ulanov, A. New York: Penguin.

Wallace, B. A womanist legacy of trauma, grief, and loss: Reframing the notion of the strong black woman icon. Snorton Eds. Westermann, C. Praise and lament in the Psalms. Atlanta: John Knox. Winnicott, D. The maturational processes and the facilitating environment: Studies in the theory of emotional development. New York: International Universities Press. Tiffany Houck-Loomis, Ph. Winnicott on symbols and symbol formation as a lens through which to analyze the historical and literary nuances of the Deuteronomic Covenant.

I explore the historical, archeological, and literary arguments for the existence or absence of a politicized or socialized historical narrative articulated in this Covenant motif read within Deuteronomy and parts of Joshua — 2 Kings. I argue that a traumatizing narrative arose out of the exile s and was later infused throughout most of the Hebrew Bible, recognized in scholarly circles today as the Deuteronomistic History DH.

I propose that this traumatizing narrative arose as a necessary means of survival during the exile. Keywords covenant; Deuteronomistic history; Donald W. Winnicott; intergenerational trauma; Melanie Klein Introduction When the boundaries of inside and outside have been breached, it is only in between that it is possible for anything to be shown. What I explore in this article is the impact of the exile upon the Deuteronomistic narrative and the dominant ideological lens through which the History of Israel is purported within the Hebrew canon and the impact of this History upon present day constructions of identity, both personal and collective.

It is my view that analyzing these concretized notions of God, self, and other formulated within our sacred texts will help those involved in pastoral care understand how people use the Bible in ways that might be re-traumatizing. An exilic trope, that is, the foreshadowing and final judgment of the collapse of first the Northern Kingdom and then the utter decimation of the Southern Kingdom runs throughout the dominant history as it is told throughout Joshua — Kings.

It is presupposed. It is narrated. It is forecasted. It is remembered. It is the grief, the trauma, that Israel works through again and again in its literature. By this I mean attending to how traumatized individuals and communities recount traumatic events and the histories that surround such events. While Smith-Christopher briefly references the literature of trauma and refugee studies, I add a new lens by engaging psychoanalytic literature and theory from the perspective of my own clinical practice as a pastoral counselor and psychotherapist and therefore expand upon some of his earlier arguments.

I utilize the psychoanalytic theories of Melanie Klein and Donald Winnicott on symbols and symbol formation as a lens through which to analyze the historical and literary nuances of the Deuteronomic Covenant. Specifically, I analyze the historical, archeological, and literary arguments for the existence or absence of a politicized or socialized historical narrative that arose out of the exile s that is infused throughout most of the Hebrew Bible, known in scholarly circles as the Deuteronomistic History DH.

I investigate the politicized construction of this history, both formative for and further traumatizing of the postexilic community. This trope constellated a national history known now as the Deuteronomistic History DH , and served as a basis for Covenant Religion.

In this history, the Covenant, and its many tenets, became or perhaps remained equated with God rather than serving as a bridge toward the God of the Covenant and toward other experiences, including the traumatic experience of exile. Israel in exile The first step is to give a thorough picture of the historical and literary nuances of the exilic trope, which I argue is formulated within the DH.

Then all these curses will come upon you and they will overtake you. In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria captured Samaria; he carried the Israelites away to Assyria. He placed them in Halah, on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of Medes. This occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

All the army of the Chaldeans who were with the captain of the guard broke down the walls around Jerusalem. Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried into exile the rest of the people who were left in the city and the deserters who had defected to the king of Babylon — all the rest of the population.

But the captain of the guard left some of the poorest people of the land to be vinedressers and tillers of the soil. While recounting the awful events, the narrators of the DH qualified their history with specific phrases and nuances that made a decidedly evaluative judgment. This reorientation draws attention to individual and communal psychological wholeness and to the stories that reflectively narrate past experiences.

Thus, historical narratives can be analyzed for what they leave out and how they are qualified, providing readers today clues as to how certain symbols in an ancient community functioned to construct identity. The questions that arise when trying to define exile in ancient Israel include: What is one referencing when discussing Israel before and after exile, or cumulative exiles? What and who comprises Israel? Furthermore, which exile is the referent?

The makers of history, elite though they may have been, created a narrative that dominates the Hebrew Bible and thus, it is worthy of significant attention. The first of the exiles are referred to within the canon in 2 Kings , which describes the capture of Samaria by the king of Assyria in BCE. Archeological findings, which have been recently reinterpreted, attest to some level of devastation within the Northern kingdom, primarily in the regions of Galilee and the Northern Transjordan Stern, , pp.

Along with destruction and devastation, other Northern sites experienced momentary occupation gaps when the occupants were exiled to Assyria and no other ethnic group was sent to repopulate the plundered areas, Assyrian or otherwise. Though these archeological findings are being reinterpreted and even contested by some it remains a fact that Northern Israel experienced a major reorganization of power and privilege in the land once their own Knoppers, pp.

However, remains from the hill country of Ephraim and Manasseh reveal less destruction and indicate some efforts of rebuilding. There were even a few locations that remained untouched and continuously populated. Knoppers concludes, based on his survey and interpretation of the archeological data, that while there is evidence for an average decline in population during the late eighth century BCE in the North, the result is not as clear-cut as once thought p.

While depopulation occurred, it occurred in the midst of mixed ethnic, social, and religious environs. Upon the campaigns of Shalmaneser V BCE and Sargon II BCE , who finally overthrew the Israelite state and transformed Samaria into an Assyrian province, there occurred some form of influx of foreigners who seem to have settled into the local population.

Due to the fact that the depopulation of Israelites was coupled with a repopulation by foreigners, the North enjoyed a slow rise in strength and prosperity during the seventh century BCE even after it was taken over by Assyria.

Evidence in surviving material remains from this time period indicates the locals held onto their practices p. While the Northern community never regained the autonomy once enjoyed, it maintained its material culture and seems to have made a quicker recovery after the Assyrian campaigns against Samaria than Judah did after the invasions of Babylonia in the sixth century Knoppers, p.

However, while the North may have enjoyed some political and economic stability, even after Assyrian invasion, there is no denying the influence of foreign presence upon the reconstruction of the identity of the Northern community Finkelstein, While Samaria grew in strength during the years of the Babylonian Exile, Judea was utterly decimated, the temple, palace, and surrounding city were destroyed, and the makers and sustainers of Israelite public culture, the scribes and priests — the ruling elite, were deported off of their land Oded, This juxtaposition may account for why there was such tension and controversy between the Samarian and Judean communities recorded in biblical texts such as trito-Isaiah Isa and Ezra-Nehemiah.

Interestingly however, while the Exile was, no doubt, a profound moment in the life of Judea, as it remains the reference point of the ancient Israelite history, there are virtually no biblical archives describing life in exile — neither from the perspective in Babylonia nor in Judea. A question emerges out of the archeological evidence and scholarly arguments regarding the exiles.

Why does the DH contain a strong exilic trope, narrating history through the lens of exile? I thus provide a theoretical background for how the unprocessed trauma of cumulative exiles co-opts the dominant historical narrative of Israel by collapsing the symbol of the Covenant. However, due to the experience of repetitive exiles and internal divisions within the two communities North and South the symbol that once provided the space to establish a sense of identity, rigidified.

Thus, the Covenant and the God of the Covenant became equated with this traumatic experience resulting in Covenant Religion concretizing an image of God that demanded right action and obedience as a prerequisite for protection and salvation. Symbolic failure in light of object relations theory What originally began as a symbolic object that enabled Israel to find and create a national identity in the shadow of Assyria became equated with the trauma itself as a result of the Babylonian Exile.

Almost all of the old institutions no longer functioned. What kind of future was possible for a people who traced its unique election to a god who had just lost a war to other deities? This symbol, seper-hatorah The Book of Teachings , found and created by Israel, at one time enabling Israel a sense of autonomy wherein space was created to formulate a communal identity in relation to the surrounding nations, became an object of internal and perhaps, at least in fantasy, external torture read the conquest narratives in Joshua as an example.

Through symbolic equation, the breast is the mother, from the perception of the developing infant. In the act of nursing and cuddling, the child identifies with this good object, the warm and nourishing breast — that is the mother, by taking into her own self or introjecting, the nurturing and good characteristics of this mother. The introjected part-object enables the growing infant to experience frustration when her needs are not immediately met, without losing the image of the good inside.

Evidence of early identification with the loving and nurturing aspects of the mothering-one is seen in the play of the small child when she imitates her mother and carries an empathetic and nurturing attitude toward other younger children.

If the baby is able to introject good and loving characteristics the child will eventually grow to see her own self as good and Sacred Spaces: The E-Journal of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, , vol. However, not only are there nurturing and loving experiences felt within the child early on in development, but also, there is, aggression and hate toward her mother and later her father. Through projection the infant and growing child achieves another kind of identification, similar yet different from identification that results from introjection.

This early position in ego development in which persecutory anxiety leads the child to split her own impulses into good and bad in order to protect her love from her hate and her loved object from the dangerous object, is supported through symbolic equation.

The infant identifies the good aspects with the good-breast and the bad aspects with the bad-breast without initially realizing both of these aspects are introjected from, and projected upon, the same mother. As Klein says, If the interplay between introjection and projection is not dominated by hostility or over-dependence, and is well balanced, the inner world is enriched and the relations with the external world are improved. When these processes diminish, the person is able to bring together the contradictory impulses within her own ego, thus leading to a greater synthesis of good and bad for her own self and in her understanding of the external world.

As Klein says, A sufficient quantity of anxiety is the necessary basis for an abundance of symbol- formation and of phantasy; an adequate capacity on the part of the ego to tolerate anxiety is essential if anxiety is to be satisfactorily worked over, if this basic phase is to have a favourable issue and if the development of the ego is to be successful. However, if the child is unable to be in touch with fantasy life that Klein believes is our inner life, our internal reality, then one is unable to form symbols and unable to play.

However, if one is unable to form symbols, unable to play, due to overwhelming persecutory anxiety or actual traumatic events, then one is incapable of expressing her inner reality. The child gradually realizes her own aggressive impulses and emotions that have been directed toward the mothering one and gradually the good and bad mother are one mother containing both part-objects good and bad breasts previously experienced as separate.

When this happens, the child is able to take back her own aggressive and loving instincts integrating these ambivalent energies through her developing ego, her conscious identity. The mother grows whole and the child grows whole. Having previously lashed out in aggression toward the annihilating object, the child feels guilt for damaging in fantasy the love object and now seeks to repair the damage done in fantasy to this object, related to now as a whole object.

It is considered the depressive position not because the child is actually depressed or melancholy, but because the child has come into contact with external reality as separate from her own aggressive impulses.

It is through this process of making reparation, that is — seeking to repair that which she has in fantasy maimed, and having her reparation accepted and reflected back upon by the caregiver, that the child is able to establish and maintain an active and meaningful fantasy life. However, if the child is unable to maintain this ambivalence or fears that the aggressive instincts projected upon the mothering-one are life-threatening, or the child fears her own aggressive instincts will kill her love object, then the child may lose access to her own fantasy life.

In this case, the child will not be able to reach the depressive position or will regress back into the paranoid-schizoid position where symbolic equation rules, and there get stuck. She remains frozen in anxiety and guilt. Thus, symbol formation is crucial for ego development. It is through the process of symbol formation the growing individual is able to understand her love- object or caregiver in reality — as she grows to understand both she and her caregiver contain good and bad, love and aggression.

This play, or serious internal work with the symbols formed and used, enables the child to take back the aggression into her own ego, realizing her own good and bad emotions and impulses. She is also able to work through her guilt feelings in the act of giving the Sacred Spaces: The E-Journal of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, , vol. Or the child can kill her dolls through play, and make them come back to life, acting out some impulse or desire she experiences in fantasy toward her mother or her siblings.

Through symbolization in play the child can reclaim her own aggression, learn to tolerate the annihilating anxiety, and can begin to make reparation. Without the capacity for fantasy and symbol formation the child remains helpless to defend herself against the bad projected out upon the love object felt to be directed toward her, or helpless to defend the good within and others externally against her own aggression and hate.

Before symbol formation there is aggression, and before aggression there is anxiety that comes from the death instinct. Anxiety stems from felt persecution coming from the outside world and, for Klein, the death instinct from inside the child projected upon her outside objects.

The first step to symbolization, however, is being able to tolerate the anxiety produced from feeling this persecuting energy and being able to sublimate the energy into forming symbols upon which she can retaliate.

For instance, in the example above, the doll who is in timeout symbolizes the child who experiences her own impulses to hit, kick, or bite the mothering one who has frustrated the child. It is through this kind of serious work, known as play, that the child gradually comes to realize and own her own aggression, take it back in forming a more whole ego that contains the good and the bad, enabling her to be in relationship with the reality of the external world.

The energy remains locked up within the child. However, another mechanism used to deal with conflicts is flight from reality. The play life of a child is made up of his impulses and desires, working them over, performing them and fulfilling them in playful imaginative plots. Observing a child throughout life, watching how he plays with his animals, dolls, or action figures, retelling experiences from the day or working out family dynamics, reveals the seriousness of such work.

Sometimes, however, children can seem as though they are comforting themselves, or not seeming upset by situations that are actually upsetting losing a parent or sibling, being the subject of abuse or incest, experiencing the Sacred Spaces: The E-Journal of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, , vol. Except that in this case, the child tries to adapt the traumatic reality to his fantasy rather than the opposite.

An example of this is when a child blames the vulnerable object within his play characters for the dire circumstances of the play sequence. Or worse, the child is unable to play with toys at all. As an example relevant to the topic at hand, to be discussed in detail below, a community can construct a narrative that assuages the horrible pain of national trauma by finding a way to blame themselves for the devastating loss and destruction of their culture. Fear, as the result of a trauma, can lead to a greater repression before the way for sublimation is opened.

Thus there is no channel through which to work the traumatic situation over because symbolization is inhibited and is fixed, or stuck, at this point. The result, according to Klein, is an installation of a cruel super-ego, stuck in the primitive paranoid-schizoid phase, splitting bad and good and punishing himself for the bad that overwhelms the good in his own ego Klein, , p.

In other words, even in normal development it is possible that the intrusion of trauma at any stage could lead to a negative repression, a repression without sublimation. Sublimation is possible through symbol formation. When sublimation is inhibited so, too, is symbol formation. When symbol formation is inhibited the individual, child or adult, loses access to her rage, aggression, and disappointment - all natural responses to trauma.

The individual then, rather than being able to work out her anger at the actual traumatic event or toward a real perpetrator, in a sense, loses access to reality. The spaces between inner fantasy and outer reality are blurred. However, these stories are anything but symbolic because they work to make reality the devastating loss of land and religious, political, and economic structure fit a fantasy they got what they deserved - they did not uphold their end of the Covenant, were too religiously promiscuous, and thus deserved the wrath of Adonai , rather than the other way around.

The other way around would have allowed for the pain of exile to make its way into the texts and the disillusionment of Covenant Religion to be addressed rather than silenced. Through a Kleinian lens, the stories were equated with the God of the Covenant and the actual horrific event of the Exile was explained as punishment coming from Adonai. While living in Babylonia, the constructors of history found a way to make sense of the Exile by finding the blame within the community Houck-Loomis, If the community would be faithful to the Covenant, according to Covenant Religion, there would remain a promise a hope of salvation and restoration.

A more recent example of this can be seen in the construction of American history Bender, The history books used when I was in grade school nearly erased the vicious reality of the systematic removal and relocation of native populations and the inhumane removal and use of African peoples in the founding of our nation.

Illuminating other historical events that led to American independence overshadowed the insalubrious aspects of our history. These discourses have emerged, as voices from the margins Sugirtharajah, , within the field of biblical studies as well, but few have fully analyzed the construction of history within the Hebrew canon Yong-Hwang, Thus the question still remains, what happens to the hi story when the symbols fail?

Winnicott and Symbolic Failure Donald W. Winnicott explains: In health, when the infant achieves fusion [with the mother], the frustrating aspect of object behavior has value in educating the infant in respect of the existence of a not-me world. Adaptation failures have value in so far as the infant can hate the object… can retain the idea of the object as potentially satisfying while recognizing its failure to behave satisfactorily.

Being merged with the mothering-one is essential in the beginning, in order for the developing child to exist and go on existing in her own body and in relation to her developing self and eventually to others. Eventually, in order for the infant to discover her own self outside of her unity with the mothering-one, the illusion of omnipotence wherein the baby experienced all her needs and wants automatically and almost autonomously met, must be pulled back ever so slightly, introducing frustration.

However, the good-enough mother does not introduce frustration without laying Sacred Spaces: The E-Journal of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, , vol. They are subjectively related to allowing the baby to work out, in fantasy, her aggressive impulses due to the frustration experienced at the opposition introduced by the environment and the mothering-one.

In this frustration a sense of ambivalence arises in the child. Opposition is felt and met with aggressive impulses or her life-force potential urgently prodding her to get her needs and desires met. Ambivalence arises as the child experiences frustration toward the one who has introduced momentary pain while also holding on to this same one as good and loved.

Eventually the aggressive impulses lead the child to pick up the objects laid about that represent the unity experienced between the child and her mothering-one and her own feelings of frustration, her subjective experience toward this unity, urge her to destroy these objects.

It is at this moment in development the child is able to actively and affectively use the objects that have previously been subjectively related to. During this stage, the child is able to destroy the mothering-one in fantasy as she seeks to affectively destroy the objects that have stood for the merged unity between mother and baby.

This is a natural transition allowed by the good-enough environment Winnicott, , p. This enables the baby to use the objects; using the objects allows the baby to place them, and therefore her mother, outside of her subjective experience. Impingement can come from the mothering-one herself, introducing too much opposition early on or from external environmental factors such as war torn ghettos, displacement, poverty or any other circumstance such as exile that robs the caregivers themselves of the ability to live creatively.

In other words, when the space between the object and the thing the object symbolizes collapses, then the object becomes equated with the thing it once symbolized and the individual must have it, and have it delicately preserved, in order to keep functioning. While symbolic equation Klein and the creation of subjective objects Winnicott are the beginning of symbol formation, one can get stuck at the stage of symbolic relating and fail to gain the ability to use Sacred Spaces: The E-Journal of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, , vol.

When one is thrust back into the earlier phase of object relating wherein objects are related to subjectively rather than used by the child allowing her to be in relationship with external reality, the object is rigidified, literalized, and concretized.

The doll is the mother and thus cannot be played with for fear that she may be destroyed. The doll remains necessary for relating to the external world. Klein and Winnicott illuminate the necessity of aggression and destructive energy as a means by which the individual develops ego strength and a consolidated personality. With a stronger ego one is able to maintain ambivalence, the simultaneous feelings of love and hate toward others. Klein suggests in the individual this plays out in trying to match reality with her internal fantasy, rather than using fantasy to work out her aggressive energies.

Winnicott indicates this inhibits the ability to integrate aggressive impulses within the individual, disallowing her the ability to place objects outside of her subjective Sacred Spaces: The E-Journal of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, , vol. In individuals who have suffered severe trauma, the trauma takes up the internal fantasy life and the victim remains the victim rather than being able to be the perpetrator, i.

If the early environment cannot withstand the aggressive impulses of the growing child and the fantastical destruction of the objects that stand in for the caregiver, the child must hold on to the objects, believing these objects to be the actual caregiver rather than merely standing in for the caregiver. History through the lens of trauma and its implications for pastoral care We can analyze now the Covenant as a potential object for Israel during transition that became concretized and equated with the God of the Covenant as opposed to enabling the community to see through the trauma and the historical narratives being rigidified to the God beyond it.

One of the similarities Deuteronomy 28 shares with the VTE is the emphasis on self-blame for the exile or national collapse. In essence, Israel adopted a self-blaming system from the objects found and created lying around in culture the VTE. Upon the devastation of the Exile this self-blaming system was elevated to a national history maintained in Covenant Religion, articulated in the Deuteronomistic History.

In this way Israel could no longer retain their initial ideas of their community and God articulated in the Assyrian layer of Deuteronomy that promised Israel protection from the surrounding enemies and a future in the land of Canaan. The hope for renewal, provided during the late seventh century at the initial formulation of the Covenant and the story of its being found, collapsed.

The Covenant, rather than creating a way into relationship with Adonai God, placed an unseemly amount of blame on Israel for disobeying seper-hatorah. The ramifications of this trauma are seen in the narrowing and rigidifying aspects of later redactions of Deuteronomy and the construction of a historical narrative. This intermediate area, the transitional space between inner and outer, between self and other, is the area of communication.

These objects are taken back up into the self and are needed for survival. There is a regression back to symbolic equation or the earliest stage at which illusion defined the area of object relating. While this initial stage was essential for symbolic formation, regressing back to this stage due to traumatic events at a later stage of development inhibits a subject or subjects from relating to other subjects in their own right in a world of shared reality.

At this point, creativity and communication cease and there is no room to move around. In the final Babylonian Exile, after living through a century of exiles, Israel was robbed of all objects — places of worship, institutions, religious order, music, and land.

What were left were the words of seper-hatorah loosely fashioned just before exile. The community of Israel relating to the Covenant is unable to use the Covenant as a symbol because the intermediate area of communication allowing for otherness and difference has collapsed. It is my view that this theory provides us another lens to view the changing nature of the Covenant and its History throughout and beyond exile.

The Covenant that originally created space for a developing Israelite identity during seventh century BCE, in later sixth and fifth centuries threatened to collapse the space by becoming literal in its meaning. As a result, a literal interpretation of the Covenant shaped the construction of history.

This occurred by blaming the Northern kings and later blaming the Judeans who, during the exile and the obliteration of their known life, were forced to remain in the land and chose to marry foreign women who worshiped foreign gods. This may explain why the DH blames the Northern kings and kingdom and reads as though it is told through the eyes of the South. Rather than due to the fact that the Southern Kingdom lasted longer than the Northern kingdom, I would argue that the Southern bias in the DH is a result of the severity of the Babylonian Exile that proved to be much more devastating than the earlier Assyrian exile in the North.

While the North was able to remain somewhat stable due to its slow repopulation and the fact that it was not utterly demolished but maintained some economic stability Sacred Spaces: The E-Journal of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, , vol. However, as a result of the Babylonian Exile, the South was utterly destroyed. When working within the realm of trauma, traditionally accepted notions of history must be redefined.

The artifacts used to help retell or even recreate historical events are artifacts of the elite. The artifacts of the non-elite often do not survive. This is true of the construction of the history of ancient Israel. The interesting and complicated aspect of any history of Israel, especially given the reality of its oppression and exile s is determining whom it is that is writing the history, and from what perspective.

The controversy regarding the Exile seems to circle around the issue of whether or not the Exile was as traumatic as has been postulated, or whether one should think of the Exile as prominent within the entire community; perhaps it only effected a small, elite, portion of the community.

I contend that these arguments are missing the mark. The issue at root here is not whether or not the Exile was as invasive and devastating as some contend but rather how the historical narrative that is constructed by the elite class during exile became the dominant historical narrative, thus perpetuating a narrative of trauma. The person or community affected by such intolerable experiences dissociates or cuts off the emotional response to the intolerable experience as best they can in order to enable a functional Sacred Spaces: The E-Journal of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, , vol.

This dissociation does not occur without grave internal consequences. While the external life may appear normally equilibrated with mainstream society, the internal life of the individual or group takes an enormous toll. These findings have important implications for pastoral care regarding how we listen for the ways in which traumatizing narratives have been internalized by the individuals and communities with whom we work.

The other day I was sitting with a patient who was recounting a painful aspect of her own history. This is to put it too simply; for the pain suffered by individuals and communities asking this question is by no means trivial. The problem however, as I see it, resides even in the construction of our sacred texts and understood as concretely as history.

The good and bad falls upon people regardless of our actions and behaviors. However, for many in faith communities, there is a strong held belief that if we live according to the Covenant, however this covenant is articulated for your particular faith community, then we can anticipate, if not a life of ease, at least a life of fulfillment and some sense of security, a way to make sense of the world. Freud considered this a childish illusion, holding onto religion for a sense of wish fulfillment.

I believe it is more deeply rooted than this, and, if consciousness is brought to the harmful collusion with the traumatic narrative, it can free one up to engage once again with the transcendent being beyond our concretized histories Sacred Spaces: The E-Journal of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, , vol. Looking for the wrong one has done in the midst of traumatic experiences colludes with the perpetrator and disallows authentic mourning to transpire. What we can learn from looking at the establishment of a dominant history as has been done in this article is the ways in which this dominant history serves to re-traumatize rather than to liberate, to stigmatize rather than to process and mourn devastating realities in our past.

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Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. Carroll, R. What exile? Deportation and the discourses of diaspora. Grabbe Ed. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic. Whose exile? Fairbairn, W. Psychoanalytic studies of the personality. London: Routledge. Finkelstein, I. The forgotten kingdom: The archaeology and history of Northern Israel. Freud, S. The future of an illusion. Translated and Edited by James Strachey. New York, London: W. Houck-Loomis, T. Good God?!? Lamentations and the loss of the good God.

Journal of Health and Religion 51, Janzen, D. Kelle, B. Ames, and J. Interpreting exile: Displacement and deportation in biblical and modern contexts. Klein, R. Israel in exile. Philadelphia: Fortress. Klein, M. Love guilt and reparation and other works New York: The Free Press.

Knoppers, G. In search of postexilic Israel: Samaria after the fall of the Northern Kingdom. John Day Ed. Kuhrt, A. The ancient Near East, c. Mass deportations and deportees in the Neo-Assyrian Empire. Wiesbaden: Reichert. Oded, B. Haifa: Pardes. The so-called Deuteronomistic history: A sociological, historical and literary introduction.

Scott Ed. Leiden: Brill. A Biblical theology of exile. Minneapolis: Fortress Press. Spivak, G. Subaltern studies: Deconstructing historiography. NY: Routledge. Stern, E. The Babylonian gap: The archaeological reality. JSOT 28 3 , Sugirtharajah, R. Voices from the margin: Interpreting the Bible in the Third World, 3rd ed. NY: Orbis Books. Torrey, C. Ezra studies Chicago: Chicago University Press.

The maturational process and the facilitating environment. London and New York: Karnac. Psycho-Analytic exploration. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Through paediatrics to psycho-analysis: Collected papers. Playing and reality. Yong-Hwang, K. Decolonizing Josiah: Toward a postcolonial reading of the Deuteronomistic history. Sheffield, England: Sheffield Phoenix Press.

Jaco J. Hamman, Ph. He used the same description to describe the therapeutic journey and the location of cultural experience. This essay identifies the narrative found in the Book of Joel in as a toy to play with, inviting those who engage the narrative into an area of overlap. Joel empowers his readers to embrace loss, build community, discover a compassionate God and be a blessing to others.

Winnicott; hermeneutics; pastoral counseling Introduction Play, the British psychoanalyst, D. One can argue that persons seek pastoral counselors and other clinicians when they are unable to effectively play with their past, present or future narrative. For Suttie, play is the integral part to negotiating life, for play helps the child discover the world through imagination and participation.

Play assists the child in negotiating the paradoxical tensions of loving and hating as responses to environments that either provide or are experienced as withholding. The skills acquired through play in childhood empower adults to navigate life between blessing and burden or between despair and reassurance. It is ironic that play, so foundational to life, resists easy definition, prompting scholars to describe it according to its traits.

Although Erikson made his comment in the context of children at play, the ritualization around toys as well as the correction and recreation of life continues into adulthood. Toys, of course, are diverse in nature, seem to get more expensive as one ages, and are increasingly electronic and easily distracting. For pastoral counselors, narrative is a key toy to play with. Counselors play with stories. As narratives of the past and present are explored, including narratives where God, the Divine, the Spirit, and Nature are key players, a new narrative unfolds.

Sometimes a narrative is discovered, similar to an infant or toddler discovering a comforting object. The teddy bear or blanket was there all along, but needed to be discovered and owned before its comfort, power, and purpose could be unlocked. The narrative of Joel encourages its readers to play with the locusts of life, play with loss, play in community or with strangers , play with God, and play with and as water. The gift of play The ancient Greeks used the same word for a child, play, and education: paideia or paidias.

Counselors want to participate in and encourage play, for in play they not only educate and facilitate transformation, they also create the space to experience God anew. Groos argued that play is an instinct necessary for the survival of a species as play prepares a child to face the challenges of life. Thirty years later, psychiatrist Suttie, quoted earlier, reaffirmed the importance of play in human development.

Our civilization is worn with age and too sophisticated , p. One can only imagine what Huizinga would say about contemporary society. In Hugo Rahner published Man at Play exploring the classic virtue of eutrapelia, implying a lightness of spirit midway between boorishness and frivolity , p.

By the mids, however, this flurry of theological reflection on playing diminished, to be taken up especially by pastoral theologians in the last decade Hamman, ; Koppel, ; Miller-McLemore, The difficulty in defining play stems from its diverse nature. Not only do humans and animals play, but play ranges from solitary play to social play to symbolic play, and from verbal play to object play to imaginary Sacred Spaces: The E-Journal of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, , vol.

Rather than defining play, Brown joins Burghardt in naming certain attributes of play such as its apparent purposelessness; also, it is voluntary; it has inherent attraction; it brings freedom from time; it has diminished consciousness of self; it brings improvisational potential; and it contains a desire to continue the play behavior p.

Play impacts more than the need for emotional experience and for relationship, friendship, and community. Through creative and imaginative engagements, play can restore painful past experiences by changing the emotional relationship one has to those moments. When a person begins to play in prayer or with a narrative, measurable change can occur, as neuroscientist Andrew Newberg has documented Newberg, Play awakens the cerebral cortex that guides our memory, attention, perceptual awareness, thought, language, and consciousness.

It stimulates the motor cortex that gets us moving, while exciting the hypothalamus—controlling our motivation—and the amygdala— regulating our social behavior as it assists us in recognizing facial and bodily expression. Countering cortisol, the stress hormone, play diminishes stress and anxiety by releasing natural Sacred Spaces: The E-Journal of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, , vol. When a counselor invites a counselee to play with images or a narrative, physical, neurological and therapeutic change occurs.

As Suttie stated, play is a dynamic assuring that an infant or person can thrive in life. Through psychology and neuroscience we have a deeper understanding how play invigorates a person, stimulates the body, and awakens the mind. When one embraces a biblical narrative as a toy to play with, additional potential unfolds. I was first introduced to Joel and a life oscillating between burden and blessing by the South African feminist theologian, Denise Ackerman.

Every day we witness people willing to die to initiate a world worth living for, even if that world oppresses. Joel, a Hebrew minor prophet, portrays a whole cosmology in words or seventy-three verses, divided into three chapters though some traditions divide the book into four. He probably lived in or around Jerusalem given the frequent references to the temple.

Scholars have less certainty as to when to place Joel in history, more so than any other prophetic book Assis, , p. Some scholars, however, argue for a date some centuries earlier even as other scholars argue for multiple authors Crenshaw, , p. At a time of ecological disaster and calamity, a plague of locusts and drought devoured the land.

Joel calls on Israel to face their reality: Hear this. Has anything like this ever happened in your days or in the days of your ancestors? What the locust swarm has left the great locusts have eaten; what the great locusts have left the young locusts have eaten; what the young locusts have left other locusts have eaten Speechless in the face of disaster, an avalanche of grief, sorrow and displacement ensues.

One is left wondering whether the locusts were real or metaphorically refer to drought or the devastation of war. Scholars entertain all three scenarios, with the majority of contemporary commentators leaning towards a metaphoric understanding of the locusts. The lack of certainty regarding the details of Joel invites a playful engagement with its symbols and images.

Witnessing the devastation, Joel calls on Israel to lament, to fast, and to congregate: Mourn like a virgin in sackcloth grieving for the husband of her youth… The vine is dried up and the fig tree is withered. Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly Here Joel builds upon a strong biblical tradition seeing God as gracious and compassionate, a theme repeated eight times: Exodus ; Numbers ; Nehemiah ; Psalm , , ; Joel and Jonah Commentator Elie Assis reminds us that shame is not a natural reaction to a plague of locusts, which was a common occurrence in Canaan, but that shame was often tied to political defeat , pp.

Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. God, Joel tells us, notices the devastation of life and promises restoration as a gift of grace. The life force is a gift, yes, but also a response from God in the face of lament, which is a turn to Sacred Spaces: The E-Journal of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, , vol.

Restoration is not a new promise, either, as Ezekiel and Numbers describe the same promise as God recreates after destruction. While they are waiting, however, God promises once more: In that day the mountains will drip new wine, and the hills will flow with milk; all the ravines of Judah will run with water. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them.

Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing. It is an invitation to be such life-giving water to others. The Book of Joel, which begins with images of devouring locusts and devastated lives, calls forth spiritual practices, and ends with restored lives and hope-filled futures. Joel is not grandiose in this image; a mere stream flows forth. Joel is truly a book for our time! Reader-response theory approaches the narratives with the values, attitudes, and responses of the readers in mind.

It represents a spectrum of positions that argue that readers play a role in the production or creation of the meaning and significance of the text, which is seen as a structural whole. Iser notes that the text is a product of an author's intention, while reading a text also brings the intention of the reader in focus. He argues that in the act of reading, the intention of the author challenges the intention, values, and attitudes of the Sacred Spaces: The E-Journal of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, , vol.

Meaning emerges from and is contracted between the written text and the reader, in what Winnicott would call an area of overlap. Using language analogous to psychodynamic theory, Iser writes: If the position of the work is between text and reader, its actualization is clearly the result of an interaction between the two, and so exclusive concentration on either the author's techniques or the reader's psychology will tell us little about the reading itself.

This is not to deny the vital importance of each of the two poles--it is simply that if one loses sight of the relationship, one loses sight of the virtual work. For Iser, meaning is found in the virtual space between text and reader, whereas Winnicott located meaning in the transitional sphere or potential space, the area of overlap one also finds in a counseling situation.

Both Iser and Winnicott argue for the creative activity of the reader or the subject, with a central role given to imagination, while maintaining the integrity of what is objectively perceived. Reader response theory is interested in the affective experiences of readers as well as the importance of culture and aesthetics, interests shared by counselors.

Defamiliarization recognizes the limitations and deficiencies of traditional codes and norms and argues that new meaning is found only where the familiar is transcended. Locusts were a threat in Biblical times whereas few persons alive in the United States have experienced a locust plague due to the use of pesticides. Metaphorical locusts, personal, physical, social or economic, however, abound. Iser also identifies negation--the questioning of the reader's accustomed relationship to the world—as the driving force behind defamiliarization.

Negation shows the present norms and values as belonging to the past and places the reader between the "no longer" and the "not yet. Indeterminacy refers to the fact that the text cannot predetermine the reactions of its readers, as meaning is discovered between text and reader. This dynamic assures the text remaining open to readers of all times and for new experience to be discovered. A Winnicottian or psychodynamic hermeneutic has a wonderful conversation partner in the person of Iser.

That conversation can inform the therapeutic setting. Playing with the locusts of life Pastoral counseling, one can argue, empowers persons to play with the locusts of life. Joel describes two kinds of locusts that are named in four different ways: There is the gazam, cutter; that which cuts off and the chasil — the chewers, devouring palmerworms, cankerworms—slow moving, but devastating Crenshaw, , p.

These pests describe different behaviors of locusts as they mature. As a metaphor, however, the locusts are intricately tied to not only the personal and social, but also the political and ecological salvation of Israel Assis, , p. Every person knows those crises that surprise and those slowly moving towards us over distant horizons, but inescapable. Whether personal or relational, social or financial, locusts abound.

They come in various forms of abuse and violence touching especially the lives of children, women, and the elderly; they come as failing and failed relationships; they come as illness Sacred Spaces: The E-Journal of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, , vol. The locusts of life destroy hope and humanity, lives and land, and relationships and reason.

The first response is resistance. Playing with the locusts of life, whether individual, relational or social, is one form of such resistance. Theologian James Evans explores how African Americans played with the darkness of slavery, a certain locust.

The liminality within playing, the fact that political, economic, and social boundaries are blurred and obliterated through play, creates the possibility for new personal and societal realities. From sunup to sundown the owner was in control, but from sundown to sunup, enslaved Africans engaged in playful acts of constituting themselves and communing with each other, their God, and with nature. Where play anticipates primarily an individual response, communitas anticipates a group response alongside an individual response.

In addition, play is a confrontational activity that speaks to privilege, subversiveness, subordination, engagement, and marginality. A television show such as Saturday Night Live, where actors often impersonate the President of the United Stated and other politicians, thrives on the confrontational and subversive nature of play.

And, play is consummatory rather than instrumental , celebrating the moment. Here success is not determined by pragmatic outcome. There is much to learn about playing with the locusts of life, an activity which begins the moment a client tells his or her story to a counselor.

As an act of resistance, the telling holds the promise of restoration. Since locusts induce loss, the narrative of Joel invites us to engage the work of mourning. Playing with loss Pastoral counseling seeks to empower persons to play with their losses.

Counselors play with loss not only because locusts entered our world, but because a life without loss is unimaginable. Every person knows relationship loss as relationships and friendships end. We know systemic loss when we recognize that we are no longer part of a community or society that welcomed us. We know intrapsychic loss as visions and dreams remain unrealized. We know functional loss as our bodies break down due to illness or age.

Lament, as Joel indicates, is an appropriate response to the devastation caused by locusts. It keeps cynicism, apathy, silence, and moral outrage from becoming locusts themselves. It lingers over pain and gives words to mute suffering. Lament is risky speech for it invites God to do something and one does not know what God might do. It is hopeful speech.

The power of lament is that it facilitates the work of mourning, which in turn allows an individual or community to discover a new identity or to sustain a difficult journey. Arnold, married for more than twenty years, was encouraged by his therapist to read the narrative of Joel. The recommendation came after Arnold acknowledged how destructive his possessiveness, distrust, and control over his wife was. She was not allowed to leave the house without his permission and when she purchased groceries, had to show him what she bought, since he did not approve lavish spending.

Seeing his behavior as a locust that alienated his wife and destroyed his marriage, Arnold wrote this lament: Lord, I have come to you for help. Because You are righteous, help me now! The waters surrounding my marriage are deep, and turbulent. I am in danger of drowning; my soul is overwhelmed with the results of my sin.

Elaine and I have been tearing each other down; sometimes without recognizing our folly, and sometimes willfully. We nurse our own hurts; often assuming the worst about what the other person said or did, and not checking if that was what they meant. We have grown distant from each other… Lord, I put my hope in You. I trust You, and I know that you have protected, carried, and loved me since before I was born.

I will echo the prophet when he says, no matter what happens, I will still be joyful and glad, because the Lord God is my savior. Bring healing to my marriage. Rescue me from my follies of control, criticism, and distance. Do not drop me Do not abandon me when the waters are over my head, and the waves crash down upon me. Pick me up again in your strong arms. Release your Holy Spirit to fully live in my heart; that I may no longer live in my folly, but may always show the fruit of gentleness, patience, kindness, and love.

Restore to us the bedrock of love and respect to build our marriage on. Grant me the privilege of proclaiming your grace and renewal in my marriage and in my life. Because of your great forgiveness, I know that your ear is inclined to me. My voice will then be raised in praise to You, my God. I will tell everyone how You have loved and rescued me!

My lips shall praise You, O Lord, for You alone are worthy. I will proclaim the grace and power of my God. Walk With Me In Hell Again We Rise Redneck Pathetic Foot To The Throat Descending Blacken The Cursed Sun Forgotten Lost Angels Requiem More Time To Kill Beating On Death's Door Lyrics Wrath The Passing In Your Words Set To Fail Contractor Fake Messiah Grace Broken Hands Dead Seeds Everything To Nothing Choke Sermon Reclamation We Die Alone [bonus] Shoulder Of Your God [bonus] Condemn The Hive [Japanese bonus] Lyrics Resolution Straight For The Sun Desolation Ghost Walking Guilty The Undertow The Number Six Barbarosa Invictus Cheated Insurrection Terminally Unique To The End Visitation Digital Sands [iTunes bonus] Vigil [live] [iTunes bonus] Still Echoes Erase This Embers [feat.

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