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Problems of 'evil' in Jeremiah 2-6: a literary-theological study on ancient Judah's experience of the exile

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

This thesis employs the contested notion of theodicy with reference to selected chapters of the book of Jeremiah and explores this theme in relation to the composition of Jeremiah 2–6. The study argues that responses to the traumatic experience of exile invite a judicious use of the term theodicy. A critical application of Ricoeur’s thinking on evil provides a way of taking seriously the significant distance between the modern and the ancient contexts; however, as interpreters are not passive, Gadamer’s notion of Wirkungsgeschichte establishes solid theoretical grounds for a hermeneutical sophistication where modern reflection can illuminate the interpretation of biblical texts. It is argued that the Babylonian exile was a catalyst for the composition of the book. The laments in Jer 4:5–6:30, in particular, were probably composed after the fall of Jerusalem in 587/6 BCE and later expansions in this block associating the city with a woman were further developed in Jer 2:2–4:4 in terms of an adulterous woman. As a result, Jeremiah 2–6 presents a theological interpretation of the fall of Jerusalem in a discourse in which Judah’s apostasy is interpreted in the light of the retributive theology.
Original languageEnglish
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Award date1 Nov 2020

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