The book of Jonah stands firmly in the Old Testament tradition, but the genre and aim of its author are not easy to discern. Salters stresses the authenticity of Jonah’s message to the Ninevites, along with their need for repentance, and Yahweh’s mercy. The purpose of the book must lie in a combination of these themes. Lamentations is a neglected book, perhaps because it has been associated with the book of Jeremiah and considered almost as an appendix. On the question of genre, it has the closest affinities with the Psalms of lament. However, whereas Psalms of lament are usually generic and tend to distance themselves from historical events, the five chapters of Lamentations have been written firmly within the context of the Fall of Jerusalem. While gloom abounds, the faith of the author of Lamentations shines through. He is a practical monotheist, says Salters, who interprets the catastrophe of the fall of Jerusalem in the light of his faith.
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Robert B. Salters is Senior Lecturer in Hebrew and Old Testament at the University of St. Andrews.