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,


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?



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