The hidden wounds of structural violence: exploring an intersectional understanding of violence in Jeremiah 4-6

Claassens, Juliana (2018)

CITATION: Claassens, J. 2018. The hidden wounds of structural violence: exploring an intersectional understanding of violence in Jeremiah 4-6. Old Testament Essays, 31(3):613-629, doi:10.17159/2312-3621/2018/v31n3a12.

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Article

Beyond the virulent portrayal of imperial violence in Jeremiah 4-6 that is rightly described as "terror all around" (Jer 6:25), one also finds other forms of violation that are no less injurious (cf. the repeated reference to "wounds" in Jer 6:7, 14). This paper proposes that it is important also to recognize forms of structural violence in this text that take into consideration factors such as gender, race and class that manifest itself as hidden wounds, which, if left unattended, may fester and return with a vengeance. This paper argues that a more nuanced and multi-faceted understanding of violence in the book of Jeremiah is helpful in dealing with the complex manifestations of violence in many contexts today. Such an intersectional understanding of violence recognizes that the deep wounds caused by poverty, racism, sexism, xenophobia, and homophobia will come back to haunt us if we do not engage in what Shelly Rambo calls "wound work" (Resurrecting Wounds: Living in the Aftermath of Trauma, p 92), i.e., surfacing and attending to the wounds caused by structural violence.

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