Theological Language in Crisis?


feminist biblical interpretation
queer biblical interpretation
masculinity studies
trauma hermeneutics
Gendered metaphors for God
Feminist biblical interpretation
Book of Jeremiah

How to Cite

Claassens, J. (2023). Theological Language in Crisis? : The Importance of Trauma Hermeneutics for Exploring Gendered Metaphors for God in the Book of Jeremiah. Old Testament Essays, 36(1), 202–219. Retrieved from


In this article that explores male and female metaphors for God in the Hebrew Bible, I argue with specific reference to the book of Jeremiah that the intersection of trauma and gender is particularly important in considering how tumultuous times inevitably impact the way people spoke and continue to speak about God. In this regard, recent developments in terms of gender theory including queer biblical interpretation and masculinity studies help us to engage critically with the gendered metaphors used for God in the Hebrew Bible. For instance, it will be shown how important it is to trouble binary constructions, i.e., in terms of male metaphors for God, to break the cycle of toxic masculinity that leads to further violence in an endless cycle of humiliation, shame and retaliation. And also, to, when it comes to female metaphors for God, move beyond a romanticised understanding of motherhood that is rooted in a prescriptive, essentialising understanding of gender.



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