Pain disintegrates a person, fracturing self and relationships. In Living Through Pain Kristin M. Swenson charts the multifaceted personal and social problems caused by chronic pain and surveys professional efforts to mitigate and manage it. Because the experience of pain involves all aspects of a person--body, mind, spirit, and community--Swenson consults an ancient resource for wisdom, perspective, and insight. Her close reading of selected psalms from the Hebrew Bible demonstrates that the challenge of living through pain is timeless. Swenson shows how these ancient texts offer a vocabulary and grammar for understanding and expressing the contemporary experience of pain. The psalms tell of suffering and healing. They decry pain's propensity to fracture even as they demonstrate a person's ability to mend. Pain is a universal experience, and this book invites readers to consider more fully what is involved in the process of healing.
Kristin M. Swenson (Ph.D. Boston University) is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the School of World Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University.
Acknowledgments Introduction 1 Problems with Pain 2 The Hermeneutics of Pain 3 Pain and the Psalms, Beyond the Medicine Cabinet 4 On Whose Account, This Pain and Its Relief? (Psalm 69) 5 From Justified Pain to Self-Justification (Psalm 38) 6 Finally Darkness (Psalm 88) 7 Shared Treasure from a Lonely Journey (Psalm 22) 8 Moving Pain out of the Center (Psalm 6) 9 Meanwhile the World Goes On (Psalm 102) Conclusion Psalms Translations Notes Works Cited Index