Intertextuality And The Portrayal Of Jeremiah The Prophet -- By: Gary E. Yates

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 170:679 (Jul 2013)
Article: Intertextuality And The Portrayal Of Jeremiah The Prophet
Author: Gary E. Yates


Intertextuality And The Portrayal Of Jeremiah The Prophet

Gary E. Yates

Gary E. Yates is Associate Professor of Biblical Studies, Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, Lynchburg, Virginia.

Timothy Polk has noted, “Nothing distinguishes the book of Jeremiah from earlier works of prophecy quite so much as the attention it devotes to the person of the prophet and the prominence it accords the prophetic ‘I’, and few things receive more scholarly comment.”1 More than simply providing a biographical or psychological portrait of the prophet, the book presents Jeremiah as a theological symbol who embodies in his person the word of Yahweh and the office of prophet.2 In fact the figure of Jeremiah is so central that a theology of the book of Jeremiah “cannot be formulated without taking into account the person of the prophet, as the book presents him.”3

The purpose of this article is to explore how intertextual connections to other portions of the Bible inform a deeper understanding of the portrayal of Jeremiah the prophet and his theological significance in the book of Jeremiah. The past thirty years in biblical studies have witnessed a rapidly growing interest in the study of inner-biblical exegesis and intertextuality, focusing on the connections and relationships that exist between biblical texts.4

Schultz comments that “any careful Bible reader must note how instinctively—and pervasively—biblical authors quote, allude to, and echo the growing corpus of Hebrew and Greek texts that ultimately make up the canonical collection or refer more obliquely to the historical and theological themes contained therein.”5 The highly allusive nature of Scripture means that the informed reader must read beyond the boundaries of any one book or scroll to determine the relationships that exist between the various scrolls that make up the biblical canon.6

The biblical intertexts that inform the portrayal of Jeremiah the prophet particularly highlight various forms of prophetic failure that characterize Jeremiah’s ministry. The traumatic events surrounding Jeremiah’s ministry and the Babylonian exile suggest the collapse of the office of prophet and the termination of Yahweh’s covenant relationship with...

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