Prophecy and Ideology in Jeremiah: Struggles for Authority in the Deutero-Jeremianic Prose

Article excerpt

Prophecy and Ideology in Jeremiah: Struggles for Authority in the Deutero-Jeremianic Prose. By Carolyn J. Sharp. Old Testament Studies Series. New York: T&T Clark, 2003. xvi + 198 pp. $60.00 (cloth).

This book represents a revision of the Ph.D. thesis of Carolyn Shaip, who teaches at Yale Divinity School. The book of Jeremiah is the largest and one of the most complex books in the Hebrew Bible, with many different (and often incompatible) theories set forth to explain the major literary sources within the book and the redactional activity which created its present form. Sharp makes a new contribution to the study of Jeremiah by proposing a different way of understanding the prose source in Jeremiah most often associated with the so-called Deuteronomistic history. She argues for two different traditions with two different ideologies in this prose source, one of them centered in Judah, the other centered in the exilic community of Babylon.

Sharp begins the articulation of this thesis with an overview of pertinent scholarship, focusing especially on the history of redaction in Jeremiah and portions of the Deuteronomistic history (mainly Deuteronomy 18 and various passages in Kings). The rest of the book is best described as a series of exegetical essays concerning key texts, first in Jeremiah and then in the Deuteronomistic corpus, (ocusing on redaction criticism and ideological criticism. Sharp goes into much depth and detail as she seeks to describe the character of the two ideological perspectives found in the prose of Jeremiah. She then examines classical views concerning the relationship of Jeremiah to the Deuteronomistic history, finding less cohesion than many previous commentators and arguing for more originality and influence by the composers of Jeremiah on subsequent tradition, including the Deuteronomistic history itself. …