Canadian School of Peacebuilding

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

Concerning-the-prophets

By Dan Epp-Tiessen

This book sheds light on the compositional history structure, and theology of the book of Jeremish 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 catatrophy, and reinforces the misleading theological certainties of Judah's pre-587 way fo 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.

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