Beyond Words: On Jeremiah's Subversive Use of Deuteronomic Idioms
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Biblical scholarship has, to date, noted the close resemblance between the language of the Book of Jeremiah and that of the Book of Deuteronomy. In reacting to these linguistic commonalities, several theories have been proffered towards defining the relationship between the two biblical books. This thesis will adopt the position that the similarities of language are a product of Jeremiah's familiarity with the Book of Deuteronomy and its formulations. The text of Deuteronomy, then, serves as a corpus of assumed knowledge from which the prophet Jeremiah drew linguistic cues and turns of phrase. While the linguistic connections between the Books of Jeremiah and Deuteronomy have been noted and the historical relationships between these texts studied, the literary aspects of this connection have heretofore been ignored, and these neglected aspects are the focus of this thesis. The type of historical-critical analysis that has been pursued, though it does indicate a relationship between Deuteronomy and Jeremiah, fails to determine the direction of the dependence. More importantly, because it does not fully explicate the contextual meaning of Jeremiah's allusions, its appreciation for this crucial aspect of Jeremiah's literary artistry is lacking. This oversight is compounded by the fact that the Book of Jeremiah is an obvious candidate for examination by inner-biblical allusion, the study of how later biblical texts build on earlier ones by citing and modifying them. These methods will be applied in this thesis to investigate the Book of Jeremiah's reliance on Deuteronomy. It will demonstrate how Jeremiah strengthens his prophetic message by deploying ironic or inverted Deuteronomic references.
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