Jer 15:6-9

Rolf Furuli furuli at
Thu Sep 16 10:35:23 EDT 1999

Peter Kirk wrote:

>Dear Rolf,
>I fear you are getting out of your depth and out of the scope of
>b-Hebrew here. The problem comes in deciding how to distinguish
>between taking the text in context and viewing it with theological
>presuppositions. I know that many Biblical scholars would tend to
>minimise the relevance of the context here; for they would tend to
>view this passage as an originally independent oracle which was only
>later put into the context of the book of Jeremiah which has now come
>down to us. There is clear support for such ideas in the numerous
>differences in ordering between the Hebrew and LXX of Jeremiah.
>Whatever you think of such ideas, you should at least study them
>before pronouncing that the meaning of this passage should be
>determined by its context rather than by the verb forms used within
>And even if the context of the passage is taken as original, your
>view of the relationship of this passage with its context is based on
>one of the possible theological understandings of this part of the
>book of Jeremiah.

Dear Peter,

When I collect the examples which contradict the four-component model, I
take textual criticism into consideration. But I refuse to translate on the
basis of an imaginary context. I am open for scientific work with the text,
but would like to rely on data rather than speculation. It is true that I
have presumed that the text of 15:1-9 is a unit in my previous posts. Are
there any data suggesting that Jer 15 is a patchwork of different oracles?

All workers are influenced by their theology and their "horizon of
understanding". However, the first step to suggest that theology plays too
great a role in someone's work, is to show that theological viewpoints are
important regarding the understanding of the particular text in question.
In this case you should give some data supporting a
"patchwork-understanding". If such are not given, I think it is
methodologically sound to view the text as a unity. However, to view a part
of the text as an intrusion because it contains verbs that contradict the
traditional view, is hopelessly circular.

To be able to use the verb forms rather than the context, we must know
their meaning. But to the best of my knowledge, those who propose a
particular meaning for each verb form, do so on the basis of the study of
just *a portion* of the Hebrew text. We cannot use such views to explain
away counter-examples in other parts of the text; data from the *whole*
text must be used.

Regardless of the origin of the text in the book of Jeremiah, the one who
made the final draft of 15:1-10 portrayed it as a prophetic unit. This must
also be taken into account. Can you please show how a rendition  of vv 6-9
as future rather than past is built on theology?


Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

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