Hearing Jeremiah's Confessions in the Light of the Metaphor of the ‘Silent’ Sheep: Reflections through the African Lore

  • Madipoane Masenya (Ngwan'a Mphahlele) University of South Africa
Keywords: confessions of Jeremiah, crying/tears, weeping, man/masculinity, Jer. 20, 7-18, African/Northern Sotho context,

Abstract

In varying African cultures, and dare one say, even in global cultures, normative masculinity is defined among others, by men’s capacity not to cry. Expressing feelings such as helplessness, weakness, being overwhelmed, pain and trauma overtly, is not supposed to typify normative manhood. Yet the book of Jeremiah (cf. his confessions in particular), canonised as it is in the Christian Bible, reveals that overt male expression of feelings can actually be a conduit through which the prophetic word is conveyed to the prophet and through the prophet to his audiences. Complaints/laments seem to have unashamedly formed an integral part of the life and ministry of the prophet Jeremiah, the man (cf. 14:17; 15:18). The main question engaged with in this article is: Which reading may emerge if selected Sotho proverbs on specific masculinities are used as hermeneutical lenses through which to engage the confessions of Jeremiah?


https://doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2018/v31n3a17

References

Brueggemann, Walter. To pluck, to tear down: A Commentary on the Book of Jeremiah 1-25. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans; Edinburgh: The Handsel, 1988.

Carroll, Robert P. Jeremiah, Volume 1. Sheffield: Sheffiel Phoenix, 2006.

Masenya (ngwana’ Mphahlele), Madipoane and Ramatswana, Hulisani “Anything New under the sun of Old Testament scholarship? African Qoheleths’ review of OTE1994-2010, OTE 25 (3): 598-637, 2012.

O’Connor, Kathleen M, “The tears of God and Divine character in Jeremiah2-9.” Pages 387-401 in Troubling Jeremiah. Edited by A.R. Pete Diamond, Kathleen M. O’Connor and Louis Stulman. Sheffield: Sheffield, 1999.

O’Connor, Kathleen, M. Jeremiah, Pain and Promise. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2012.

O’Connor, Kathleen, The Confessions of Jeremiah: Their interpretation and role in chapters 1-25. Atlanta: Scholars, 1988.

O’Connor, Kathleen, “Jeremiah.”Pages 267-277 in Women’s Bible commentary, Twentieth Anniversary Edition. Edited by Carol A. Newsom, Sharon H. Ringe and Jacqueline E. Lapsley. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2012.

Rakoma, JRD. Marema-ka-dika tṧa Sesotho sa Leboa. Pretoria: Van Schaik, 1971.

Scalise J. Pamela. “The way of weeping: Reading the path of grief in Jeremiah,” Word and World, 22/4, 2002: 415-422.

Polk, Timothy Polk. The Prophetic Persona: Jeremiah and the Language of Self . Sheffield: JSOT, 1984.

Von Rad, Gerhard, “The Confessions of Jeremiah.” Pages 339-347 in A Prophet to the Nations: Essays in Jeremiah Studies. Edited by Leo G. Perdue and Brian W. Kovacs. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1984.

Wessels, Wilhelm. “My Word is Like Fire”: The Consuming Power of YHWH’s Word, OTE24/2 (2011): 492-510.

White, R.E.O. The Indomitable Prophet: A Biographical Commentary on Jeremiah: The Man, the Time, the Book, the Tasks. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1992.

Published
2019-01-31