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Jeremiah and God's Plans of Well-being

Barbara Green

Publication Year: 2013

In Jeremiah and God's Plans of Well-being, Barbara Green explores the prophet Jeremiah as a literary persona of the biblical book through seven periods of his prophetic ministry, focusing on the concerns and circumstances that shaped his struggles. Having confronted the vast complexity of scholarly issues found in the Book of Jeremiah, Green has chosen to examine the literary presentation of the prophet rather than focus on the precise historical details or the speculative processes of composition. What Green exposes is a prophet affected by the dire circumstances of his life, struggling consistently, but ultimately failing at his most urgent task of persuasion. In the first chapter Green examines Jeremiah’s predicament as he is called to minister and faces royal opposition to his message. She then isolates the central crisis of mission, the choice facing Judah, and the sin repeatedly chosen. Delving into the tropes of Jeremiah’s preaching and prophecy, she also analyses the struggle and lament that express Jeremiah’s inability to succeed as an intermediary between God and his people. Next Green explores the characterizations of the kings with whom Jeremiah struggled and his persistence in his ministry despite repeated imprisonment, and, finally, Green focuses on Jeremiah’s thwarted choice to remain in Judah at the end of the first temple period and his descent into Egypt after the assassination of Gedaliah. In Jeremiah and God's Plans of Well-being, Green shows the prophet as vulnerable, even failing at times, while suggesting the significance of his assignment and unlikelihood of success. She explores the complexities of the phenomenon of prophecy and the challenges of preaching unwelcome news during times of uncertainty and crisis. Ultimately Green provides a fresh treatment of a complex biblical text and prophet. In presenting Jeremiah as a literary figure, Green considers how his character continues to live on in the traditions of Judaism and Christianity today.

Published by: University of South Carolina Press

Cover

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p. C-C

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Series Editor’s Preface

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pp. vii-viii

Critical study of the Bible in its ancient Near Eastern setting has stimulated interest in the individuals who shaped the course of history and whom events singled out as tragic or heroic figures. Rolf Rendtorff's Men of the Old Testament (1968) focuses on the lives of important biblical figures as a means of illuminating history, particularly the sacred dimension that permeates Israel's convictions...

Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

Chart of the Book of Jeremiah Assumed

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pp. xi-xiv

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Introduction

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pp. 1-11

Can a responsible, coherent, compelling book on biblical Jeremiah be composed from the vast complexity of issues that must be addressed in it? How can a classic, gathering shape from the sixth century b.c.e. and then thriving under interpreters for more than two thousand years, be freshly addressed? Can such an ancient religious document pose issues for twenty-first-century readers? I am confident...

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1 Womb and Workshop—Jeremiah Learns His Calling

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pp. 12-25

We meet Jeremiah as he is constituted and committed as a prophet. The narrator of the book provides words of YHWH to and through Jeremiah extending over the last forty years of the monarchy, from King Josiah’s thirteenth year to King Zedekiah’s eleventh year, and past it: the era from 627 to 587 b.c.e. Whether Jeremiah was born or called in 627 does not much matter, since what counts is that he ...

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2 Overture—Problems and Resolutions Rehearsed

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pp. 26-45

Having encountered Jeremiah’s persona at his calling and initial prophetic speech and considered some of his classic language regarding Judah’s neighbors, we are now ready to meet him in what are plausibly early days of ministry.1 We will now examine chapters 2–10 as an overture, hearing characters’ voices both tangled in complex discourse and drawing on classic imagery. The intersection among...

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3 Resistance—Deity and Prophet as Partners and Adversaries

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pp. 46-63

As we proceed with our reading of the book of Jeremiah and deepen our acquaintance with its named character, we continue to monitor the key issues of his world: how his people handle worship of YHWH and how they all understand the agency of God in the political events of their time. How will deity and prophet address the sense of betrayal of relationship by the people of Judah and Jerusalem,...

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4 Deep Learning—Experiencing the Heart of God

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pp. 64-98

The purpose of this chapter is twofold: First, to examine the poetry in chaps. 11–20 and demonstrate how the pieces can—in terms of genre and rhetoric—be seen productively and reasonably as soliloquy laments of prophet and deity, where each main speaker responds to impinging realities—notably those we have just seen unfold. The second task is to suggest how each group of poetic outbursts works as a set and with its partner set—that is, what each soliloquizer learns on ...

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5 Well-Being or Disaster—The Case Argued

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pp. 99-124

As we have done with the complex material of Jeremiah 11–20—looking through it twice so as to catch more detail and significance, so we will consider this long section of Jeremiah 21–39 twice: first, to suggest an overall pattern into which the material seems to fit—a nonsymmetrical chiasm; second, to offer a closer examination of Jeremiah’s interactions with King Zedekiah and eventually of his relationship with the community already living in Babylon. As throughout, our ...

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6 God's Desires Contested—The Case Embodied by Strange Resemblance and in Negative Space

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pp. 125-154

The case developing in this book shows God and Jeremiah embarked on an urgent challenge of persuasion, aiming first themselves to see and then to show reluctant audiences that something apparently harmful may be good, that something vastly nonpreferred must be chosen. Their project continues to meet powerful resistance in diverse ways. We have glimpsed God struggling to invest in a salutary promise,...

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7 Getting Out

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pp. 155-170

In the previous pages of this book, my argument has singled out and valorized the reluctant readiness of some in Judah and Jerusalem to relocate to Babylon in order to survive. I have tried to show how counterintuitive and dispreferred that decision would be for any steeped—as I presume the people of Judah and Jerusalem were—in the importance of God’s project for the people of Judah dwelling in...

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Afterword and Implications

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pp. 171-178

It is time to return to the questions with which this book began: Can a responsible, coherent, compelling book on biblical Jeremiah result from a study of the vast complexity of issues that make it up? How can a classic, gathering shape from the sixth century b.c.e. and then thriving under interpreters for more than two thousand years, be freshly addressed? Can such an ancient religious document ...

Notes

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pp. 179-204

Select Bibliography

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pp. 205-212

Index

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pp. 213-221


E-ISBN-13: 9781611172713
Print-ISBN-13: 9781611172706

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Studies on Personalities of the Old Testament

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