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Shame in the Individual Lament Psalms and African Spirituality


Mark S. Aidoo

The book explores how the rhetorical function of «bôš» («shame») and its cognates within twelve Individual Lament Psalms (ILP) reflect persuasive responses aimed at enhancing the relational spirituality of the psalmist. It argues that the Hebrew terminology of «bôš» is used as a response to enhance a spirituality of relatedness. The author argues that the plea for positive shame is to enhance positive spirituality that leads to changes of attitude, repentance, faithfulness, self-knowledge, and wholeness. Negative shame influences negative spirituality that leads to destruction and unworthiness. The volume reflects African Christian spirituality elucidating the psalmist’s perception of positive shame.

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IV. Negative Petitions Concerning Shaming: The Rhetoric of the Righteous Avoiding Shame


“Shame … is the one fear which like a ghost haunted the Psalmist’s mind.

He trembled lest his faith should become the subject of ridicule through

the extremity of his affliction. Noble hearts can brook anything but shame.”

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