Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
JETS 24:3 (September 1981) p. 265
The Book of Jeremiah. By J. A. Thompson. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980, 819 pp., $22.50.
In this latest addition to the NICOT, Thompson has contributed an outstanding commentary that is bound to become a standard classic for English-speaking students.
The book consists of two main sections: an introduction, and a text and commentary. The introduction, 131 pages long, is a gold mine of information that matches the excellent work of Bright. In it Thompson deals with such difficult topics as the nature of Josiah’s reforms, the differences between the MT and LXX, and Hebrew poetic forms. But perhaps the most interesting part of the introduction is “Some Important Issues for Exegesis,” in which the author does not hesitate to address practically every controversial issue in Jeremian studies. The wide range of issues treated here is reflected in such intriguing titles as “The Debt of Jeremiah to Hosea,” “The ‘Seditious’ Utterances of Jeremiah,” “The Use and Significance of the Root s̆ûb in Jeremiah” and “The Foe from the North.”
Thompson has done his homework well. He explains clearly the point being discussed, stating what is at stake. Then he proceeds to weigh the evidence for and against the various options, and finally he arrives at a cnnclusion without being unnecessarily dogmatic. He does not hesitate to interact with Bright, Holladay, Hyalt, Nicholson and others while being fair to them. His mood is irenic and his style is easy to read—even enjoyable. He clearly has an eye for the message and theology of the prophet. The introduction alone is worth the price of the book.
The outstanding introduction is followed by a very good text and commentary. This section has the edge on Bright for three main reasons. First, Bright has been allotted a space of 370 pages while Thompson has 645 pages. Second, while Bright’s notes and comments tend to be brief and sketchy, Thompson’s notes are fuller and more substantial. Third, Bright has rearranged the Biblical text in order to fit it into a chronological order, while Thompson has dealt with it in the order it appears in the Scriptures. The result is to solve the problem one encounters in trying to find a specific oracle in Bright’s work where, for instance, Jer 19:1–2 is treated after 26:1–24.
Thompson’s exegetical remarks vary from good to excellent. To observe him at his best, one may sample his exciting treatment of such passages as the denunciations in chap. 3, the passionate grief in chap. 8, the temple sermon in chap. 7 and “Yahweh Is Our Righteousness” in chap. 23. He sets a standard ...
Click here to subscribe