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1.a book in the Old Testament containing the oracles of the prophet Jeremiah
partie d'une œuvre littéraire (fr)[DomainDescrip.]
Book of Jeremiah (n.)
The Book of Jeremiah (Hebrew: ספר יִרְמְיָהוּ) is the second of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, following the book of Isaiah and preceding Ezekiel and the Book of the Twelve. (The order is somewhat different in the Christian Old Testament). It derives its name from, and records the visions of, Jeremiah, who lived in Jerusalem in the late 7th and early 6th centuries BC during the time of king Josiah and the fall of the Kingdom of Judah to the Babylonians. The book is written in a complex and poetic Hebrew (apart from verse 10:11, curiously written in Biblical Aramaic).
Parts of the Book of Jeremiah have also been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls in cave 4 in Qumran. These texts, in Hebrew, correspond both to the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint Text. This discovery has shed much light on the differences between the two versions; while it was previously maintained that the Greek Septuagint (the version used by the earliest Christians) was only a poor translation, professor Emanuel Tov, senior editor of the Dead Sea Scrolls' publication, wrote that the Masoretic edition either represents a substantial rewriting of the original Hebrew, or there had previously been two different versions of the text. Most scholars hold that the Hebrew text underlying the Septuagint version is older than the Masoretic text and that either the Masoretic evolved either from this vorlage or from a closely related version.
Some believe that the book of Jeremiah was edited and influenced by the Deuteronomists, or the writers of the book of Deuteronomy, who advanced religious reform. This can be clearly viewed in the parallel use of language found in both Deuteronomy and Jeremiah. For example in comparing Jer 11.4 and Deut 4.20, both use the metaphor of an iron furnace. Also, the impetus for religious reform appears to be aligned between Jeremiah and the Deuteronomists in ending of infant child sacrifices (see Jer 7.31, 19.5, 32.35; Lev 18.21). However, considerable debate exists as to whether Jeremiah was actually a member of the Deuteronomistc school since he does not explicitly mention Deuteronomy or Josiah's religious reform. In fact, due to the repetitious nature of some of phrases or intertextuality with Jeremiah, an argument has been put forth that the “historical Jeremiah” is hard to validate and should be abandoned. By contrast, evidence based on the textual differences between the Septuagint and the Masoretic Text has been used to argue that the context of the MT truly does depict a historical Jeremiah.
According to the book, the Prophet Jeremiah was a son of a priest from Anatot in the land of Benjamin, who lived in the last years of the Kingdom of Judah just prior to, during, and immediately after the siege of Jerusalem, culminating in the destruction of Solomon's Temple and the raiding of the city by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. According to the book, for a quarter century prior to the destruction, Jeremiah repeatedly issued prophecies predicting God's forthcoming judgment; advocating the Israelites to put down their idols and repent in hopes of turning away God's judgment and fulfilling their destiny as his chosen people. Jeremiah's fellow Israelites refused to heed his warnings and did not repent. His efforts failed and he witnessed the destruction of everything he knew, the exile of the Israelite elite to Babylonia, and the fleeing of the remainder to Egypt.
The book of Jeremiah depicts a remarkably introspective prophet, a prophet who was impetuous and often angered by the role into which he has been thrust. Jeremiah alternates efforts to warn the people with pleas to God for mercy until he is ordered to "pray no more for this people." He engages in extensive performance art, walking about in the streets with a yoke about his neck and engaging in other efforts to attract attention. He is taunted and retaliates; he is thrown in jail as the result. At one point he is thrown into a pit to die.
Jeremiah's prophecies are noted for the frequent repetitions found in them of the same words, phrases, and imagery. They cover the period of about 50 years. They are not in chronological order.
The Septuagint (Greek or 'LXX') version of this book is, in its arrangement and in other particulars, different from the Masoretic Hebrew. The Septuagint does not include 10:6-8; 25:14; 27:19-22; 29:16-20; 33:14-26; 39:4-13; 52:2, 3, 15, 28-30, etc. In all, about 2,700 words found in the Masoretic text are not found in the Septuagint. Also, the 'Oracles against the Nations', that appear as chapters 46-51 in the Masoretic and most dependent versions, in the Septuagint are located right after 25:13, and in a different order.
According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, "a comparison of the Masoretic text with the Septuagint throws some light on the last phase in the history of the origin of the Book of Jeremiah, inasmuch as the translation into Greek was already under way before the work on the Hebrew book had come to an end... The two texts differ above all in that the Septuagint is much shorter... Even if the text of the Septuagint is proved to be the older, it does not necessarily follow that all these variations first arose after the Greek translation had been made, because two different editions of the same text might have been in process of development side by side..."
The Septuagint version of Jeremiah also includes the Book of Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremiah. Jerome's Prologue to Jeremiah says he excluded them: "And the Book of Baruch, his scribe, which is neither read nor found among the Hebrews, we have omitted, standing ready, because of these things, for all the curses from the jealous, to whom it is necessary for me to respond through a separate short work. And I suffer because you think this. Otherwise, for the benefit of the wicked, it was more proper to set a limit for their rage by my silence, rather than any new things written to provoke daily the insanity of the envious." But the Canon of Trent included them as "Ieremias cum Baruch" (Jeremiah with Baruch), Baruch 6 being the Epistle or Letter of Jeremiah in the Vulgate.
Scholars have identified several passages in Jeremiah that can be understood as “confessions;” they occur in the first section of the book (chapters 1-25) and are 11.18-12.6, 15.10-21, 17.14-18, 18.18-23, and 20.7-18. In these passages, Jeremiah expresses his discontent with the message he is to deliver, but also his steadfast commitment to the divine call despite the fact that he had not sought it out. Additionally, in several of these “confessions,” Jeremiah prays that the Lord will avenge his persecutors  (for example, see Jeremiah 12.3).
Jeremiah’s “confessions” are a type of individual lament. Such laments are found elsewhere in the psalms and the book of Job. Like Job, Jeremiah curses the day of his birth (Jer. 20.14-18 and Job 3.3-10). Likewise, Jeremiah’s exclamation “For I hear the whispering of many: Terror is all around!” (Jer. 20.10) matches Psalm 31.13 exactly. However, Jeremiah’s laments are made unique by his insistence that he has been called by Yahweh to deliver his messages. These laments that are attributed to Jeremiah “provide a unique look at the prophet's inner struggle with faith, persecution, and human suffering”.
Prophetic gestures, also known as sign-acts or symbolic actions, was a form of communication in which a message was delivered by performing symbolic actions. These actions were often bizarre actions that violated the cultural norms of the time (e.g. Ezekiel 4:4-8). These actions served the purposes of both drawing audience and causing that audience to ask questions, giving a prophet the opportunity to explain the meaning of the behavior. Prophetic gestures are not unique to the book of Jeremiah.
The following is a list of noteworthy sign-acts found in Jeremiah.
This is not an exhaustive list of the prophetic gestures found in the book of Jeremiah. It is important in one's reading of the text of Jeremiah that one remember that the recorder of these events (i.e. the author of the text) had neither the same audience nor, potentially, the same intent that Jeremiah had in performing these prophetic gestures. This is also true of most other texts containing prophetic gestures.
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
This article incorporates text from Easton's Bible Dictionary (1897), a publication now in the public domain. This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901–1906.
Book of Jeremiah
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