The Theology of the Book of Jeremiah
Publisher Cambridge University Press
The present study focuses on the theology of the Book of Jeremiah. That theology revolves around themes familiar from Israel's covenantal faith, especially the sovereignty of YHWH expressed in judgment and promise. The outcome of this theological nexus of context, person, and tradition is a book that moves into the abyss and out of the abyss in unexpected ways. It does so, in part, by asserting that God continues to be generatively and disturbingly operative in the affairs of the world, up to and including our contemporary abysses (such as 9/11). The God attested in the Book of Jeremiah invites its readers into and through any and all such dislocations to new futures that combine divine agency and human inventiveness rooted in faithfulness.
This slim volume by a preeminent Old Testament theologian offers an engaging entry into the theological complexities of the book of Jeremiah. Brueggemann describes intelligently the major theological motifs and historical issues addressed in Jeremiah. Lingering on the richness of the biblical text, Brueggemann moves with a seasoned grace among numerous biblical themes and metaphors as he illuminates what was at stake for Jeremiah and the Israelite groups that shaped Jeremiah’s legacy. The first chapter, “Critical Access to the Book of Jeremiah,” provides an introduction that will be valuable to many sorts of readers, including novice exegetes, clergy who need an accessible overview of the themes and literary context of Jeremiah, and theologians who want to work with Jeremiah but do not have time for in-depth technical study. Brueggemann begins with a thumbnail sketch of contributions in the recent interpretation history of Jeremiah, reviewing Mowinckel’s schema of sources and giving a paragraph each to the historicizing work of William Holladay, the ideological-critical position of Robert Carroll, and the literary reading of Louis Stulman. Readers hear only that Holladay’s attribution of most Jeremiah material to the historical prophet is currently “out of fashion” (4, and a gentle way of making the point); students may need more guidance on the hermeneutical issues raised by Holladay’s neo-positivist approach. [Full Review]