Concerning the Prophets: True and False Prophecy in Jeremiah 23:9--29:32

Concerning the Prophets: True and False Prophecy in Jeremiah 23:9--29:32

by Daniel Epp-Tiessen


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Epp-Tiessen sheds light on the compositional history, structure, and theology of the book of Jeremiah by demonstrating that a large concentric unit of material focusing on true and false prophecy stands at the center of the book. This unit, titled "Concerning the Prophets" (23:9), utilizes the heritage of Jeremiah to contrast the nature of true and false prophecy in order to warn the Second Temple community of the disastrous consequences of false prophecy and to highlight the saving potential of true prophecy. False prophecy leads to doom because it ignores the moral failings of the community, promises well-being in the face of catastrophe, and reinforces the misleading theological certainties of Judah's pre-587 way of life. In contrast, the true prophet Jeremiah challenges the faith community to embrace the physical and spiritual dislocation of the Babylonian destruction. Post-disaster life stands under the saving purposes of YHWH, but the only way forward is to learn the painful lessons of catastrophe and heed the prophetic summons to repent and embrace a Torah-based way of life.

"One of the most engaging and significant books on Jeremiah to come across my desk in recent years. Epp-Tiessen's book is intelligent, bold, and replete with exegetical insight! It will no doubt enrich all those interested in prophetic literature and the tortuous question of true and false prophecy. I commend it enthusiastically."
--Louis Stulman, University of Findlay

"Epp-Teissen's commitment to literary artistry and his unabashed readiness for 'the final form of the text' permit him to open for us a text often neglected in current interpretation. I anticipate this book will be a durable reference point, both for future work on this body of texts and for the vexing, contemporary issue of false prophecy that still transpires among us."
--Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

"Issues of truth and falsehood have plagued religious communities for centuries. Who is telling the truth? What criteria can best be used to discern what is true and what is false? In this thoughtful study, Epp-Tiessen focuses on the largest block of biblical text that works with these issues: Jeremiah 23-29. . . . His probes into these texts will be helpful in assisting readers to address these persistent questions in ways that are theologically and pastorally sensitive."
--Terrence Fretheim, Luther Seminary

"'How should we distinguish between true and false prophecy in a time of distress and frustration?' This question was imperative in the post-exilic community of Judah, and it is still as relevant as ever. Epp-Tiessen presents the considerations on this topic revealed in the book of Jeremiah and offers valuable material for further theological reflection."
--Else K. Holt, Aarhus University

Author Biography:
Daniel Epp-Tiessen is Associate Professor of Bible at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, Canada.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781610972802
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 09/28/2012
Pages: 236
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Daniel Epp-Tiessen is Associate Professor of Bible at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, Canada.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Abbreviations x

Introduction 1

1 Approaches to the Study of True and False Prophecy 9

2 The Concentric Structure of Jeremiah 23:9-29:32 41

3 Section A: Condemnation of False Prophets in General (23:9-40) 75

4 Section B: A Vision Regarding Exiles and Non-Exiles (24:1-10) 107

5 Section C: The Symbolic Cup-Destruction of the Nations by Nebuchadnezzar (25:1-38) 122

6 Section D: Proper and Improper Responses to True Prophecy (26:1-24) 140

7 Section C': The Symbolic Yoke-All Nations Must Serve Nebuchadnezzar (27:1-28:17) 162

8 Section B': A Letter Regarding Exiles and Non-Exiles (29:1-19) 184

9 Section A': Condemnation of Specific False Prophets (29:20-32) 195

Conclusion 201

Bibliography 211

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