Book of Jeremiah

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Jewish tradition and NT quotations ascribe this OT Book to Jeremiah, but many modern critics attribute a great part of it to editors. The promises of restitution and the giving of a New Covenant (chs. 30 and 31) are often thought to come from scribes living in the time of the Exile or soon afterwards; the so-called Oracles to the Nations are also often denied to Jeremiah, especially the prophecy against Babylon (chs. 50 and 51), which contradicts the policy of submission advocated in other parts of the Book. There are striking differences between the Septuagint and the Massoretic texts which may arise from the amalgamation of two collections of prophecies. In ch. 36 we are told that the prophecies were written down by Baruch, read to the king and burnt by him, and then written again with additional material.

The prophet extols both the transcendence and the justice of God, who condemns His people because they have abandoned righteousness. His sense of Divine justice causes Jeremiah's astonishment at seeing the wicked prosper, and here for the first time in the OT is raised the problem of the good fortune of sinners and the sufferings of the just. The most striking feature of the Book is the New Covenant (31: 31–4) which God will make with His people and in which the Gentiles too will participate (16: 19–21).

Subjects: Biblical Studies.

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