woensdag 6 februari 2013

Review of: L. Stulman, Jeremiah (AOTC), Abingdon Press, 2005; in: Interpretation

L. Stulman, Jeremiah (AOTC), Abingdon Press, 2005

Review in: Interpretation 2006 60: 97
Review door: Mark E. Biddle
Gevonden op: http://int.sagepub.com/content/60/1/97.full.pdf+html

by Louis Stulman
Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries, Nashville, 2005. 400 pp. $39.00. ISBN 0-687-05796-5.

FOLLOWING AN INTRODUCTION dealing with key issues in the study of Jeremiah, its overall genre and situation, historical and social contexts, and theological and ethical import, the body of this commentary divides into a series of tripartite treatments of literary units: an initial literary analysis demarcating the unit under consideration and describing its salient stylistic and structural features; an exegetical analysis discussing difficulties, peculiarities, themes, etc.; and a concluding theological and exegetical analysis underscoring the substance and message of the passage.

Stulmarís approach to Jeremiah will prove helpful to its readers in at least two significant respects. The first is Stulman's concept of the coherence of the book of Jeremiah. Far from rejecting critical scholarship's insights into the complex history of formation that produced Jeremiah, he incorporates a wide range of voices and stances. Stulman sees the polyphony, which the tradition both tolerated and relished, as the hermeneutical key to reading Jeremiah. The tradition responsible for two forms of Jeremiah, the Hebrew Masoretic Text and the Greek LXX—whose very existence attests to how the Jeremiah tradition valued multiple voices—did not consider the reality facing exilic and post-exilic Israel to be susceptible to simple, monolithic analysis. Instead, exhibiting a tendency now often associated with "inner-biblical" exegesis or rabbinic "midrash," Jeremiah construes reality "not by standards of linear logic but as a rich labyrinth of voices and countervoices which emerge out of the wreckage of a national disaster that defies ordinary categories" (p. xviii). Stulman guides his readers through the labyrinth skillfully and confidendy.

Second, the theological analyses on each section of the book do not shrink from grappling with the complexity of Jeremiah's thought world. With great sensitivity to the exilic/post-exilic environment of dismay and confusion that produced Jeremiah, Stulman enters into the tension of crisis and thwarted expectation to return with authentic theological insights that speak to a modern world, itself subject to dismay, confusion, crisis, and lack of direction. Stulman deserves congratulations, in particular, for his theological treatment of the so-called "oracles against the nations," which many commentators largely pass over as objectionable to modern sensibilities. While not slipping into naïve biblicism, Stulman hears testimony to God's engagement with the totality of human history in these oracles.

Stulman's Jeremiah assumes no specialized knowledge on the part of its reader, neither of Jeremianic studies nor of the Hebrew language. As appropriate, Stulman carefully, yet succinctly, situates his own observations and conclusions in the context of the history of Jeremiah scholarship and thoroughly explains pertinent Hebrew terms and idioms. This commentary will be a welcome addition to the libraries of colleges, seminaries, interested laypersons and ministers alike.


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