Recent Trends in the Study of Jeremiah -- By: Bill T. Arnold

Journal: Ashland Theological Journal
Volume: ATJ 025:1 (NA 1993)
Article: Recent Trends in the Study of Jeremiah
Author: Bill T. Arnold

Recent Trends in the Study of Jeremiah

Bill T. Arnold

Dr. Arnold (Ph.D., Hebrew Union College) is Associate Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages at ATS.

Until recently, one would be hard pressed to list more than a handful of commentaries currently available on the book of Jeremiah. This important Old Testament prophet has been short-changed by the neglect of scholarly activity during the twentieth century; that is, until now!

At the end of the 1970s, there was an obvious dearth of up-to-date commentaries on Jeremiah.1 But in the past twelve years, this desideratum has been met—and with a vengeance. First came a trickle, which grew into a steady stream, and then a virtual downpour of commentaries on Jeremiah. It began with John A. Thompson’s contribution in the NICOT series in 1980 and has continued unabated until the present.2 And this avalanche of scholarly activity is not limited to commentaries. A host of important monographs on individual topics has also been published during this period.

This article will survey the new commentaries available since 1980 including Thompson’s. The discussion will center around three major, critical commentaries which appeared together in 1986. Commentaries by Robert P. Carroll,3 William L. Holladay,4 and William McKane,5 were all published that year making it something of a landmark in Jeremianic studies. Additionally, I will include remarks here on the new works by Walter Brueggemann,6 Ronald E. Clements,7 Peter C. Craigie et al.,8 Elmer A. Martens,9 and Douglas Rawlinson Jones.10 I will also make brief comments on a few of the most important monographs.

This article attempts to evaluate the new commentaries by surveying how each one treats five of the most important exegetical issues in Jeremiah studies. In the process, the presentation will also survey the recent trends among scholars working on Jeremiah.11 Three of these issues are rather standard for works on biblical books: authorship and date, historical background, and theological emphases. But in addition to these, any serious study of Jeremiah has two additional problems to address: the book...

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